School districts are public school systems that provide regular, special, and/or vocational education services for children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Public school systems in the United States are locally administrated, and their geographic structure varies by state and region. Most districts in the Mid-Atlantic and New England states follow county, township, or city boundaries, while districts in the Midwest and Western states are generally independent of municipal boundaries and frequently intersect statistical areas like Census tracts and block groups. The U.S. has more than 14,000 public school districts and spends more than $500 billion on public elementary and secondary education each year (combined spending of federal, state, and local governments).
The U.S. Census Bureau develops demographic, economic, geographic, and fiscal data for school districts, and many of these data collection activities are conducted in cooperation with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. The U.S. Census Bureau does not collect student achievement information and it does not provide data that identifies characteristics of individual students or staff members.