SACRAMENTO — California public schools are spending a greater share of their funds in classrooms and district offices and less on school buildings, according to a state audit released Wednesday.
The Legislature's auditor, in a study of school spending from 1981-82 through 1985-86, found school district administration expenses grew at the fastest rate of 11.1% a year.
However, education officials said that figure is distorted by auditing errors and by costs of state-mandated audits, legal fees and contracted bus, food and data processing services.
The state auditor general's office acknowledged that spending for the district audits, legal fees and contract services may explain the disproportionate increase in administrative costs.
District Office Spending
The 270-page audit report found spending at the district office level accounted for 6.9% of school budgets in 1985-86, compared to 6.2% five years earlier.
Expenditures for teacher salaries, textbooks and classroom supplies grew from 58.4% of the 1981-82 budget to 59.6% in 1985-86, the report said.
Spending for maintenance, transportation, cafeteria and library services dropped from 35.4% of total costs in the 1982 fiscal year to 33.5% two years ago, it said.
Likewise, the report said, costs for running the state Department of Education dropped from 1.3% of total school funding to 1.1% over the same period.
An Education Department attorney said that despite some discrepancies the findings validate claims by state schools chief Bill Honig that most school money is spent in the classrooms.
Honig released a report earlier this month that said 63% of the 1985-86 school budget was spent in classrooms, 33.5% on school site costs and 6% for administration.