- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - A new state report says the percentage of Arizona school districts’ spending devoted to classroom costs has dropped to an average of 53.6 percent, the lowest level since monitoring began 15 years ago.

The Auditor General’s Office examined classroom costs in the fiscal year that includes the 2014-2015 school year.

The report says the overall percentage of classroom spending dropped both during years of increased and decreased overall spending and dropped 5 percentage points from a peak in 2004.

The office says declining classroom spending generally lowers teacher pay and increases class sizes.

The report says districts spent larger percentages on administration, building operations, food services, transportation, student support and instructional support.

According to the report, districts’ costs and spending vary due to efficiencies, size, type of district and location.

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