California school district spending and test scores

Desert Center Unified School District

Despite years of efforts to equalize spending in California schools, some districts receive thousands of dollars more per student than others. And although some districts spent much more than the average, the bigger expenditure didn't assure higher scores on the state's Academic Performance Index, which is based on student test scores and other academic measures. Download a spreadsheet of spending per student and Academic Performance Index data for all school districts here.

How does Desert Center Unified compare to other California districts?

Spending per student

$39,282   Median: $8,234

API score in 2010

611   Median: 783

$39,282 spent per student ($708,645 total expenditures)

Districts with similar spending per student
New Jerusalem Elementary $55,500
Mineral Elementary $47,977
Belridge Elementary $42,094
Desert Center Unified $39,282
Owens Valley Unified $39,228
Kashia Elementary $34,144
Sausalito Marin City Elementary $33,949
Spending per student
in districts with similar attendance
Desert Center Unified (18.00) $39,282
Indian Springs Elementary (15.20) $33,451
Trinity Center Elementary (14.30) $21,220
Plum Valley Elementary (18.40) $18,476
French Gulch-Whiskeytown Elementary (18.40) $16,512
Klamath River Union Elementary (18.10) $14,400
Lincoln Elementary (14.30) $13,816
Spending per student in adjacent districts
Desert Center Unified $39,282
San Pasqual Valley Unified $14,028
Coachella Valley Unified $8,767
Calipatria Unified $8,497
Desert Sands Unified $8,203
Brawley Union High $8,168
Magnolia Union Elementary $7,907
Show more adjacent districts

611 API score in 2010

Districts with similar API scores in 2010
Vineland Elementary 617
Reef-Sunset Unified 614
Pioneer Union Elementary 613
Desert Center Unified 611
Allensworth Elementary 608
San Ardo Union Elementary 602
Round Valley Unified 566
API scores in 2010
in districts with similar attendance
Indian Springs Elementary (15.20) 852
Plum Valley Elementary (18.40) 793
Lincoln Elementary (14.30) 791
Klamath River Union Elementary (18.10) 735
Desert Center Unified (18.00) 611
French Gulch-Whiskeytown Elementary (18.40) N/A
Trinity Center Elementary (14.30) N/A
API scores in 2010 in adjacent districts
Magnolia Union Elementary 865
Desert Sands Unified 787
Calipatria Unified 772
Brawley Union High 704
Coachella Valley Unified 685
Palo Verde Unified 674
San Pasqual Valley Unified 657
Show more adjacent districts
A note about the data: Spending figures refer to "current expense of education" per student in average daily attendance in 2009-10. The figures exclude certain expenditures, such as retiree benefits, food services and facilities acquisition and construction costs. Figures should be interpreted in the context of local conditions.

The state's nearly 1,000 school districts are responsible for reporting the information to the state. If individual districts spot problems with the state-reported statistics in our database, California Watch will confirm and update the data while encouraging districts to correct any errors with the state so that the public has the most accurate data available.

Interactive by Agustin Armendariz and Michael Corey. Reporting by Louis Freedberg and Stephen K. Doig.

Source: California Department of Education
Filed under: K-12