Of the 14,561 public school systems in the United States in 2007, only the 13,051 that are independent school districts are included in the count of governments. The other 1,510 "dependent" public school systems are classified as agencies of other governments-state, county, municipal, or town or township-and are not counted as separate governments.
Because of the variety of state legislative provisions for the administration and operation of public schools, marked diversity is found in school organization throughout the United States. The number of states providing for public schools solely through independent school districts numbered 31 in 2007. This independent district arrangement, which prevails in most parts of the country, is practically universal in the West.
A "mixed" situation is found in 15 states, with the public schools that provide elementary and secondary education operated in some areas by independent school districts and elsewhere by a county, municipal, town or township, or state government. In the District of Columbia and in four states (Alaska, Hawaii, Maryland, and North Carolina), there are no independent school districts; all public schools in those jurisdictions are administered by systems that are agencies of the county, municipal, or state government.
Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Texas each have at least one state-dependent public school system.
Table showing the number of school district governments and public school systems, and other governments in the U.S. (Local Governments and Public School Systems by Type and State: 2007)
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