The Department's Budget

The Department operates Hawaii's public schools on a $1.7 billion budget comprised primarily of state funds. Learn about the Operating and Capital Improvement Projects budgets, per-pupil spending, state comparisons and more.

Budget FactsheetHow it works, when it happens, where monies are spent, and other key facts about the DOE budget.​

Presentation to the LegislatureInformation about the Department's budgetary ask for Fiscal Biennium 2015-17, approved by the Board of Education. D​elivered to the Finance and Ways & Means Committees on Jan. 15, 2015. 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Operating budget

The Hawaii State Department of Education annually educates more than 180,000 students, spread among 289 public schools (255 Department schools and 34 charter schools); and employs about 25,000 teachers and staff in positions across all school campuses, 15 complex areas, and the state office.

Given this, it's no wonder that the Department’s Operating budget is annually given a large share of the state’s general funds — roughly $1.4 billion. Each year, when the Legislature convenes and the budget is analyzed, the Department gets a lot of attention — rightly so. Most of the funding goes directly to schools or in service of schools. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Money is allocated from the state's General Fund into program buckets, known as EDNs. (See chart for breakdown of state funds allocated for each; percentages are rounded.)
  • Nearly all funds go to schools. 
    • About 58 percent is parceled into EDN 100, which goes directly to schools. Almost all of that is an amount distributed to schools using a Weighted Student Formula. The WSF gives schools a specific dollar amount for each student, and additional funds for students with certain characteristics, such as qualifying for the free and reduced lunch program (socioeconomically challenged) or being English Language Learners. This creates a transparent model of funding equity on a statewide basis. The balance of EDN 100 is used to support programs such as Athletics, JROTC and Alternative Learning Centers.
    • EDN 150 funnels another 23 percent of state education dollars to support special education students who may require or have an individualized education plan.
    • E​DN 400 pays school bills — sewer, electric, water, repair, food and others. That’s another 12 percent of the budget.
  • The remainder of the budget is spread among EDNs 200, 300 and 500 for expenses such as instructional supports, statewide testing, administrative support (personnel, technology and fiscal), community programs such as A+ and adult education, complex area administration, as well as the Board of Education and Office of the Superintendent. (A new program — EDN 700 — is being added this year to reflect the Early Learning program, which will be a Department-attached agency. This will be reflected in appropriations, below, when the budget is passed.)

Taken together, EDNs 100, 150 and 400 — monies that support schools directly — account for about 94 percent of the state’s education budget. Monies in the other EDNs support efforts at all levels — state, Complex Area and school. 


Here is a breakdown of the $1.403 billion the State Legislature appropriated for Fiscal Year 2014-15 during the 2013 session and amended with supplemental request in 2014 session (Act 122).


EDN 100: School Based Budgeting$812.9 million
EDN 150: Special Education$325.5 million
EDN 200: Instructional Support$47.4 million
EDN 300: State Administration$43.3 million
EDN 400: School Support$171.2 million
EDN 500: School Community Services$2.5 million

Capital Improvement Projects budget

Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) are renovations, repairs and major maintenance to existing facilities, landscape improvements, new construction, land acquisition, and utility modifications. The CIP budget is set by the state as part of a comprehensive program to manage state facilities, and is handled separately from the Department’s Operating budget.​

Budget proposal: Fiscal Biennium 2015-17

The Department has submitted its request for the next Fiscal Biennium (FB) budget, including (1) restoring funding for basic operations to maintain minimum standards, and (2) funds for strategic investments to grow student and staff success and expand successful systems of support. The Board of Education approved it on ​​Oct. 21, 2014.

Basic Operations include investments in:

  • Skilled nursing services
  • Weighted Student Formula
  • Workers Compensation Benefits
  • Civil Rights Compliance
  • School Bus, Food and Utilities

Strategic Investments include:
  • Future Ready Learning
  • Advanced Placement
  • Strive HI Awards
  • Digital literacy program licenses (Achieve3000)
  • School Improvement Process (Accreditation)



Funding the Operating budget

budget chart​​

​​The Department’s Operating budget funding comes from four sources:

  • General funds (blue): Comes from the State of Hawaii’s general fund, primarily state tax revenues. This is the top source of funding to the Department — by far.
  • Federal funds (red): The Department receives grants from federal agencies including the U.S. Departments of Education, Agriculture, Defense and Health and Human Services.
  • Special funds (green): Those coming from revenue-generating activities, including school food services, student bus transportation services, summer school program, after-school programs, adult education, driver education, and use of school facilities.
  • Trust funds (purple): May include donations & gifts, foundations & other grants, school athletic program activity collections, and “fair share” and School Impact District developer fees.

Here is a breakdown of Department Operating budget funding across all sources dating to FY 2007-08
(Source: Executive Biennium and Supplemental Budget Bills):

FY2014-15 FY2013-14 FY2012-13 FY2011-12
General funds $1,402,889,559 $1,399,913,038 $1,348,108,657 $1,365,566,677
Federal funds $250,994,824 $259,250,749 $284,547,256 $311,496,353
Special funds $95,339,367 $95,339,367 $96,535,944 $88,045,223
Trust funds $24,290,000 $24,290,000 $32,919,060 $32,990,000
TOTAL $1,773,513,750 $1,778,793,154 $1,762,110,917 $1,798,098,253

FY2010-11 FY2009-10 FY2008-09 FY2007-08
General funds $1,253,433,452 $1,396,097,613 $1,394,564,070 $1,401,562,416
Federal funds $305,716,386 $374,991,570 $261,847,302 $262,206,533
Special funds $79,055,420 $75,406,544 $67,782,450 $64,659,825
Trust funds $13,716,215 $13,750,000 $13,750,000 $6,300,000
TOTAL $1,651,921,473 $1,860,245,727 $1,737,943,822 $1,734,728,774

Budget Allocations, FY 2014-15​:​ View how monies are allocated to the Department for Fiscal Year 2014-15 — by program, by organization and by allocation number.

How does Hawaii’s educational spending compare?

Public school system funding and spending is typically expressed “per pupil” — how much school districts are taking in and spending divided by the number of students served. It is helpful to look at what Hawaii's spending as a state is relative to other states and the District of Columbia. Here are some key findings of the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual report on Public Education ​Finances​, released in May 2014:

  • Hawaii is 16th nationally in per-pupil funding. Despite having one of the highest costs of living in the country, Hawaii spends less than 15 other states — at $13,875 per student. This figure looks at all sources of funding — state, local and federal. (Table 11.)
  • Hawaii is 36th nationally in public school spending per $1,000 of personal income. 35 other states spend more on public education as a fraction of personal income than Hawaii — Hawaii spends $42.18, with the national average at $45.11. (Table 12.)
  • Hawaii is 51st nationally in spending on general administration. This includes activities concerned with establishing and administering policy for operating the school district, i.e. the Superintendent’s Office, Board of Education, Grants Management, Special Projects, and others. Hawaii spends $0.18 per $1,000 of personal income, compared with the national average of $0.74. (Table 12.)
  • Hawaii is 25th nationally in spending on school-level administration. This includes activities concerned with overall administrative responsibilities for a school, i.e., principal, vice principal, school administrative services assistant, registrars, office supplies & equipment, and others. Hawaii spends $2.24 compared with the national average of $2.11. (Table 12.)
Understanding per-pupil funding

Per-pupil funding includes monies from EDNs 100-400, and includes all means of finance: general (from the state’s general fund), special and federal. It also includes fringe benefits for general-funded employees that are not appropriated in the Department’s EDNs — since they are budgeted centrally at the Department of Budget and Finance for all general-funded employees. This is important to understand because it creates an appearance of a substantial difference between the amount of per-pupil funding given to the Department and that given to the state’s public charter schools, which only looks at EDNs 100-400 relating to the state’s general fund — this is the funding formula in statute under Act 106, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012. By that base calculation, for FY 2013-14, per-pupil funding for the Department and the public charter schools was $6,127.61.

Annual Financial Report

The Department presents its Annual Financial Report to inform the public of the total cost of public education in Hawaii. It is a key component of department accountability and public transparency. The Annual Financial Report provides both Operating and CIP fund information, including operating revenues, receipts and expenditures. We have included operational costs such as repairs and maintenance of school facilities, and other expenses incurred by state and county agencies for public education purposes.

Budget allocations since 1999

Links to databases of allocations to Department offices, districts and schools. View by allocation number, program and/or organization.

Contact Information

Communications and Community Affairs Office

Phone: 808-586-3230


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