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Changes in the Cost of Energy in One State's School Districts




As the price of energy rose dramatically in recent years, school districts suddenly faced unexpected increases in energy bills not accounted for in school budgets. This report by REL Appalachia, Changes in the Cost of Energy in One State's School Districts, examines energy expenditures in Tennessee school districts for 2002/03–2007/08 to see how much energy's share of district spending rose and whether the increase disproportionately affected districts with certain characteristics. Energy expenditures rose from 2.6 to 3.0 percent of total expenditures over the period. Not all districts with the same characteristics (region, size, locale) were similarly affected. Many had considerably different scores on an index of the fiscal stress resulting from higher energy costs, suggesting that district characteristics are not a reliable indicator of the need for state support. States could use the stress index instead to concentrate support on districts under the greatest stress from rising energy prices.

Publication Type:

Issues & Answers

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Publication Date:
March 2010