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Appropriations for Education

Description: 

The primary focus of state government public finance is the general fund. Appropriations are approved by the Arizona Legislature before the beginning of each fiscal year, but adjustments to appropriations can be made during the year. Actual expenditures are essentially the same as the latest approved appropriations. The data are reported for fiscal years; for example, fiscal year 2013 runs from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. An annual time series of expenditures are available back to fiscal year 1979 and include appropriations through the current fiscal year.

In order to compare expenditures over time, the effects of inflation, population growth, and per capita economic growth must be considered. Reporting expenditures per $1,000 of personal income automatically adjusts for all three factors. The fiscal year average (the average of the four quarters of the fiscal year) of personal income is used to standardize the public finance data.

In addition to measuring appropriations per $1,000 of personal income, a better gauge for public programs that serve only a portion of the population is to measure appropriations relative to the caseload of the program. For education, the caseload measure is enrollment. Because of the number of part-time students, full-time-equivalent enrollment is used for higher education. Per student appropriations were divided by per capita personal income in order to adjust for inflation and per capita economic growth. Per capita personal income was calculated using the fiscal year average for personal income and the average of the population at the beginning and end of the fiscal year.

Data Source: 

Expenditures are reported by the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) http://www.azleg.state.az.us/jlbc.htm. The expenditure data are taken from the Appropriations Report; when released late in a fiscal year, the report includes revised appropriations for the current fiscal year and appropriations for the following fiscal year. The Appropriations Report is released several weeks after the budget has been passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor.

Fall enrollment figures come from the Digest of Education Statistics, published annually by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/. Since the publication of these data lag behind by more than two years, estimates of the latest numbers for K-12 education are made using the enrollment figures reported by the Arizona Department of Education. More up-to-date data for higher education are available from the NCES IPEDS database, using the EF20xxA file.

Personal income is estimated quarterly by state by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm. It is released about three months after the end of the quarter; revisions to estimates for prior quarters are made every quarter.

The calculation of per capita personal income for the fiscal year uses annual population estimates as of July 1. Through 1999, the source is the U. S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau. Their time series of population estimates is most easily accessed from the BEA: http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm. Since 2000, the source is the Arizona Department of Administration, Office of Employment and Population Statistics: http://www.workforce.az.gov/population-estimates.aspx. Both sets of estimates are released in December.

Data Quality Comments: 

Because of differences by state in accounting systems, the JLBC data are not comparable to those of any other state. Inconsistencies and inaccuracies exist within the time series of enrollment in elementary and secondary education.

Some of the inputs to the calculation of personal income by state are estimated. Personal income estimates are subject to revision. Figures for the current fiscal year are projected. Personal income is a comprehensive measure of the economy but has conceptual limitations when employed to adjust public revenues and expenditures.

iconEducation Appropriations by Type Per $1,000 of Personal Income, Arizona State Government General Fund

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Visualization Notes:

Most of the general fund appropriations for education go to elementary and secondary schools. The appropriations for the School Facilities Board, which was created in 1998, are primarily capital outlays used to repair and build elementary and secondary schools.

Relative to the size of the Arizona economy, general fund appropriations have fallen for K-12, community colleges, and universities. Between fiscal year (FY) 1979 (the earliest data) and FY 2015, K-12 support from the general fund per $1,000 of personal income fell by 30 percent. The decreases were much more significant for higher education, with the FY 2015 figure for community colleges 84 percent less than in FY 1979 and the latest figure for universities 66 percent less than the value of 36 years earlier. Percentage decreases have been significant since the prerecessionary peak in FY 2007: -20 percent for K-12, -64 percent for community colleges, and -32 percent for universities.

iconEnrollment in Arizona

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Visualization Notes:

From the mid-1980s through 2005, higher education and especially K-12 enrollment increased substantially in Arizona. Since 2005, K-12 enrollment has essentially been flat while higher education enrollments continued to rise through 2011, but fell in 2012. After adjusting for the state’s population growth, K-12 enrollment dropped during the 1980s but has not changed substantially since then. Higher education enrollment per 1,000 residents declined during the 1990s but has not changed much since then.

iconFull-Time-Equivalent Enrollment in Arizona

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Visualization Notes:

Per capita full-time-equivalent enrollment at universities dropped during the 1990s but has increased since 2006. Per capita enrollment at community colleges is cyclical, typically rising during a recession and falling during the recovery.

iconEducation Appropriations Per Student Per $1,000 of Per Capita Personal Income, Arizona State Government General Fund

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Visualization Notes:

Significant declines in K-12 education funding from the state government general fund have occurred, particularly since 2002, on a per student per $1,000 of per capita personal income basis. The fiscal year (FY) 2014 figure was 24 percent less than the average between fiscal years 1979 and 2002. The cumulative higher education decrease has been larger than that for K-12 schools. The FY 2013 figure was 57 percent less than the average between fiscal years 1979 and 1999.

iconEducation Appropriations Per Full-Time-Equivalent Student Per $1,000 of Per Capita Personal Income, Arizona State Government General Fund

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Visualization Notes:

Between the mid-1980s peak and fiscal year (FY) 2013, support from the general fund per full-time-equivalent student relative to income fell 78 percent for community colleges and 61 percent for universities. Between FYs 2007 and 2013, the decline was 41 percent at universities and 66 percent at community colleges.

Data Source

Expenditures are reported by the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) http://www.azleg.state.az.us/jlbc.htm. The expenditure data are taken from the Appropriations Report; when released late in a fiscal year, the report includes revised appropriations for the current fiscal year and appropriations for the following fiscal year. The Appropriations Report is released several weeks after the budget has been passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor.

Fall enrollment figures come from the Digest of Education Statistics, published annually by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/. Since the publication of these data lag behind by more than two years, estimates of the latest numbers for K-12 education are made using the enrollment figures reported by the Arizona Department of Education. More up-to-date data for higher education are available from the NCES IPEDS database, using the EF20xxA file.

Personal income is estimated quarterly by state by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm. It is released about three months after the end of the quarter; revisions to estimates for prior quarters are made every quarter.

The calculation of per capita personal income for the fiscal year uses annual population estimates as of July 1. Through 1999, the source is the U. S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau. Their time series of population estimates is most easily accessed from the BEA: http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm. Since 2000, the source is the Arizona Department of Administration, Office of Employment and Population Statistics: http://www.workforce.az.gov/population-estimates.aspx. Both sets of estimates are released in December.