Category Archives: Education

How Much Do Public School Budgets Vary Across the City’s School Districts and Boroughs?

There is a great deal of variation in average per pupil allocations across community school districts. In 2013-2014, the last school year in which budgets were set by the Bloomberg Administration, school district allocations averaged $8,255 per student in grades pre-k through 8. The difference in per pupil allocations between the district with the highest average allocation (district 16, Bedford-Stuyvesant) and the lowest (district 24, Corona/Elmhurst) was $3,800.

This variation is not unexpected. Schools recieve funding from a variety of state, city, and federal sources, many of these funding streams attempt to direct resources to students deemed to have greater needs. Moreover, per pupil spending is also a function of school size, with large schools generally receiving less funding per pupil than schools with fewer students.

Average Allocation: $8,255

  • Some part of the difference in allocations relates to the relative socio-economic status of the communities within each district.
  • The largest per pupil allocations are found in the South Bronx (district 7), Central Brooklyn (district 16), Upper Manhattan (districts 4 and 5), and the Lower East Side (district 1). The lowest per student allocations are found in Queens (districts 24, 25, and 26) and Manhattan (district 2).

The results displayed by borough and funding source shed more light on these differences.

  • The three largest funding streams for schools, Fair Student Funding, other city funds, and Federal Title 1, drive the major difference across boroughs. Schools in Queens receive, on average, $1,310 less per pupil from these combined sources than schools in the Bronx.

School size also contributes to the differences in per pupil allocations across districts and boroughs. Generally, large schools receive less funding in per pupil terms than small schools. This is likely because schoolwide costs are being shared over a greater number of students. Queens, with the largest average school size, had the lowest per pupil allocations, while Manhattan and the Bronx, with the two smallest average school sizes, had the two largest per pupil allocations.


 Prepared by Ray Domanico

New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: IBO analysis of Department of Education data
NOTES: Excludes high schools and schools in the citywide special education district (district 75) because they are not evenly distributed across community school districts. Spending allocated to school budgets exclude fringe benefits.

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New York City By The Numbers

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Do a Larger Share of Students Attending the City’s Specialized High Schools Live in Neighborhoods With Higher Median Incomes than Those Attending the City’s Other High Schools?

The city’s Department of Education runs nine specialized high schools that are among the most selective of the city’s public high schools. Eight schools admit students based solely on the score attained on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test and admission to LaGuardia High School is based on an audition. All 8th graders and first-time 9th graders who are New York City residents are eligible to take the test. The score required for acceptance depends on the school and varies each year.

IBO used the address of each student attending a New York City public high school in the 2012-2013 school year to identify the census tract in which each student lived and the median household income for households residing in the tract. We then compared the median incomes of the neighborhoods where students lived who were attending the specialized high schools with those of students attending all other public high schools.

  • Students in the specialized high schools came from census tracts where the median household income averaged $62,457 compared with $46,392 for students in other high schools. (All dollar amounts are reported in 2012 dollars).
  • If we rank the census tracts by their median income and then divide the tracts into equal fifths (quintiles), we observe large differences between the share of students in specialized high schools and other high schools from each quintile.


  • Only 11 percent of specialized high school students came from the lowest income census tracts (those where the median household income is less than or equal to $33,862) whereas 30 percent of students in other high schools came from these neighborhoods.
  • Twenty-six percent of specialized high school students reside in the top income quintile (the 22 percent of census tracts with median incomes over $81,650) compared with just 7 percent of those attending other high schools
  • Overall, the share of students attending specialized high schools increases steadily and then drops marginally in the two highest quintiles, as we move from the census tracts with lower median household incomes to the census tracts with higher median incomes. For students attending other Department of Education high schools, the pattern is the opposite: the share of students declines as median income increases.


Prepared by Stephanie Kranes
New York City Independent Budget Office

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New York City By The Numbers

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Is the City Spending at Least 1 Percent of Its Federal Title 1-A Funds on Parental Involvement?

Federal Title I-A funds provide assistance to schools and local educational agencies (in New York City, the Department of Education) that serve a large number or share of students from low-income families. Under federal rules, school systems that receive at least $500,000 in Title I-A funds must use at least 1 percent of their annual allocation for activities that promote parental involvement. Title 1-A requires parental input into determining the activities provided as well as their implementation. Although schools also use additional sources to fund parental involvement, only Title 1-A requires that parents be involved in planning for the use of these funds.

  • In school year 2013-2014, 1,292 schools (nearly 79 percent) of the city’s public schools received Title 1-A funds.
  • Schools receiving Title I-A funds collectively spent $11.2 million on parental involvement activities in 2013-2014—more than double the required minimum expenditure of $5.2 million for the Department of Education.


  • The education department gives schools a targeted amount of 1 percent of their Title 1-A funds to spend on parental involvement in the department’s school budget allocations.
  • In school year 2013-2014, 10 percent of Title 1-A schools with parental involvement spending targets self-reported spending below the amount targeted and nearly 71 percent reported spending more than their assigned target amount.


  • Nearly 70 percent of schools receiving Title I-A funds were targeted to spend between $1,000 and $5,000 for parental involvement.
  • For schools spending in this range, the expected expenditure equaled about 0.1-0.2 percent of an average school budget.
  • Lack of standardized reporting limits analysis by type of expenditure.

Prepared by Liza Pappas & Yolanda Smith
New York City Independent Budget Office

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How Many Students Can Enter a Gifted & Talented Program in New York City?

In the 2013-2014 school year, approximately 36,000 students took the test to determine their eligibility for a seat in a New York City public school Gifted & Talented program for the 2014-2015 school year. The test is grade-specific and any student entering grades K through 3 can potentially take it.

The Department of Education defines the criteria for acceptance to a Gifted & Talented, or G&T, program. Students must take two tests measuring their verbal and nonverbal skills. The scores of these tests are combined to find a single rank for the student based on their age and national norms. Students can apply to a district-level G&T program if they rank above the 90th percentile, and they can apply to any of the five citywide G&T programs if they rank above the 97th percentile. Students receive offers based on their ranked scores and their school preferences.

  • Roughly 5,400 incoming kindergarteners who took the G&T test in school year 2013-2014 (about 40 percent of the test-takers) surpassed the 90th percentile, making them eligible to apply for a G&T program—1,500 of them achieved the highest score.
  • But the school system had G&T program seats for less than half of the qualifying kindergarteners, only a total of 2,200 seats were available across the city. This included 273 seats in the five most selective citywide programs.
  • This gap between the number of students meeting the official criteria and the spots available has meant that in recent years most of the G&T programs can only accommodate students ranking closest to the 99th percentile.

Prepared by Diana Zamora Bonnet
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: Department of Education

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New York City By The Numbers

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How Has the City’s Budget for Public Education Changed Since 2000?

  • Both total spending on public education and spending on Department of Education public school operations grew steadily from 2000-2010.
  • Spending on Department of Education operations has declined since then, while funding for charter schools and pass-through payments to nonpublic schools was greater in 2014 than in 2010.
  • Pension costs, payments to special education providers, and charter schools have been the major drivers of spending outside Department of Education public school operations.

The rise in per pupil spending on public education, including charter and nonpublic schools, was driven by growth in city funds.
State-funded per pupil spending increased steadily from 2004 until declining in 2009 with the onset of the recession.
Federal funds were largely flat on a per pupil basis except for the years the city received money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

For more historical information dating to 1990 on school funding and spending, see IBO’s fiscal history table.

Prepared by Yolanda Smith
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: New York City Comptroller Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports; Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget

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New York City By The Numbers

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The City’s 2015-2019 Capital Plan for Public Schools: How Many New Seats & When Will They Be Ready?



Timeline for Design Start and Estimated

Completion of New Capacity Seats


  • Under the recently adopted fiscal year 2015-2019 capital plan for schools, 62 percent of the 32,560 new seats will be completed within the five-year plan period, including projects that had been funded for design but not construction under the previous plan. Another 21 percent of the seats are expected to be completed in time for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Including seats scheduled for completion after 2019-2020, design will begin for 79 percent of the new seats during the five-year plan period. Design for most of the other seats began during the preceding plan.
  • An average of 5,907 seats is expected to be completed each year from 2017-2018 through 2021-2022; over 95 percent of the new seats will be available by the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
  • The period from design to completion is typically expected to take from three to four years.

Prepared by Sarita Subramanian
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: IBO analysis of Department of Education data

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How Long Is the Commute for New York City High School Students From Their Homes to Their Schools?

  • Citywide, the average high school student’s commute to school—by subway, bus, or foot—in school year 2011-2012 was estimated to take 32 minutes. In comparison, the commutes for city residents to jobs in the five boroughs averaged 39 minutes in 2012.
  • More than 1 in 5 high school students had commutes of 45 minutes or longer.
  • There was significant variation across census tracts in the share of students with longer commutes, reflecting both access to transit and school choice preferences.
  • The city’s Department of Education allows “hardship transfers” for high school students with commutes of more than 75 minutes. Less than 3 percent of high school students had commutes that long in school year 2011-2012.


The Geography of Student Commutes Longer Than 45 Minutes to School, School Year 2011-2012


Prepared by Asa Wilks
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: IBO analysis of Department of Education Data, American Community Survey
NOTES: Calculations based on GoogleMaps estimate of trip times as of January and February 2014 between each student’s home and school address. Calculations reflect commuting time during business hours for students attending New York City high schools during the 2011-2012 school year. Trip duration includes walking time.

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New York City By The Numbers

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How Many Students Attend Nonpublic K-12 Schools in New York City?

  • In school year 2012-2013, 241,900 students attended nonpublic schools, 19 percent of the city K-12 total.
  • Nonpublic school enrollment declined by 23,100 (9 percent) since 2002-2003.
  • Public charter school enrollment grew by more than 56,000 over those 10 years.
  • Enrollment at traditional Department of Education schools declined by almost 65,000 in those same years.

NOTE: We use the New York State Education Department’s categorization of school affiliations in this graph. All Other includes schools listed in 12 other affiliations, 11 of which are religious in nature.

  • Jewish schools now serve the largest number of students among nonpublic schools, with enrollment close to 95,000.
  • Enrollment at Jewish schools has eclipsed that of Roman Catholic schools, historically the most popular alternative to public schools.
  • Enrollment in Roman Catholic schools declined by over 47,000 students (35 percent) from 2002-2003 through 2012-2013.
  • Independent schools have grown by 6,600 students (19 percent) in those same years.

  • Over 60 percent of nonpublic school students are white, compared with 15 percent of students in traditional Department of Education schools and 3 percent of students in charter schools.
  • Hispanics form the largest group in traditional Department of Education schools, with over 40 percent of enrollment.
  • Black students account for 59 percent of charter school enrollment.
  • The racial/ethnic composition of particular types of nonpublic schools is related in part to the schools’ religious and cultural affiliations. For example, 95 percent of students in Jewish schools are white, compared with 36 percent of students in Roman Catholic schools and 56 percent in independent schools.

Prepared by Raymond Domanico
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: All data on nonpublic schools is available on the New York State Department of Education website. All numbers for Department of Education and charter schools were calculated by IBO from New York City Department of Education student data files.

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New York City Public Schools: Have Per Pupil Budgets Changed Since 2010-2011?

    • Overall, average per pupil budgets dipped slightly in school year 2011-2012 but have grown since then.
    • Average per pupil budgets rose more rapidly for high schools than for elementary and middle school schools both in absolute and percentage terms.
    • Elementary schools have the highest per pupil budgets on average.
    • In each of the years, about 60 percent of the per pupil allocation went to teacher salaries.

How Much Did the Change in Per Pupil Budgets Vary Among Schools Since 2010-2011?


  • About 23 percent of schools experienced an increase between $1 and $400 per pupil while about 19 percent of schools experienced a similar decline.
  • The majority of schools have not experienced an increase or decrease in budgets greater than $600 per pupil.
  • The largest changes in per pupil budgets are associated with unusually large changes in enrollment.

Prepared by Gretchen Johnson
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: IBO analysis of end of October Department of Education budget data.
NOTES: Both charts exclude budgets for schools not open in all years, schools phasing out or experiencing grade truncation during these years, as well as Districts 75 (special education) and 79 (alternative schools). Figures in top panel are weighted by projected enrollments.

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Where Do NYC’s Teachers and Principals Live Compared With Where They Work?


  • 67% of the 70,328 teachers live within the five boroughs
  • Teachers in Queens and the Bronx are the most likely to live outside the five boroughs
  • 81% of Staten Island teachers live in the same borough as they work, as do 57% of Brooklyn teachers


  • 66% of the 1,570 principals live within the five boroughs
  • Principals in the Bronx and Queens are the most likely to live outside the five boroughs
  • 69% of Staten Island principals live in the same borough as they work, as do 45% of Brooklyn principals



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New York City By The Numbers

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