California school district spending and test scores

Vista 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 Vista Unified compare to other California districts?

Spending per student

$8,522   Median: $8,234

API score in 2010

785   Median: 783

$8,522 spent per student ($183.7 million total expenditures)

Districts with similar spending per student
Jefferson Union High $8,550
Redding Elementary $8,548
Valley Home Joint Elementary $8,540
Vista Unified $8,522
Escondido Union High $8,517
Fortuna Union High $8,515
Cabrillo Unified $8,512
Spending per student
in districts with similar attendance
Antelope Valley Union High (21,628.00) $8,604
Vista Unified (21,558.60) $8,522
Hemet Unified (20,812.80) $8,199
Lake Elsinore Unified (20,835.00) $7,574
Downey Unified (21,745.10) $7,572
Murrieta Valley Unified (20,942.30) $7,367
Tustin Unified (21,589.20) $7,096
Spending per student in adjacent districts
Fallbrook Union High $10,068
Vista Unified $8,522
Oceanside Unified $8,492
Carlsbad Unified $7,927
San Marcos Unified $7,493
Bonsall Union Elementary $7,317

785 API score in 2010

Districts with similar API scores in 2010
Cajon Valley Union Elementary 785
Hawthorne Elementary 785
Cabrillo Unified 785
Vista Unified 785
San Diego Unified 785
Rio Bravo-Greeley Union Elementary 785
Coast Unified 785
API scores in 2010
in districts with similar attendance
Tustin Unified (21,589.20) 850
Murrieta Valley Unified (20,942.30) 837
Lake Elsinore Unified (20,835.00) 814
Vista Unified (21,558.60) 785
Downey Unified (21,745.10) 771
Hemet Unified (20,812.80) 753
Antelope Valley Union High (21,628.00) 671
API scores in 2010 in adjacent districts
Carlsbad Unified 859
San Marcos Unified 853
Bonsall Union Elementary 853
Vista Unified 785
Oceanside Unified 773
Fallbrook Union High 747
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