The Department's Budget

The Department operates Hawaii's public schools on a $1.9 billion budget comprised primarily of state funds (80 percent), as well as federal, special and trust funds. Hawaii is 19th in the nation for per-pupil revenue, despite its comparatively high cost of living. 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.​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Operating Budget

Each year, the Hawaii State Department of Education educates and supports more than 180,000 students and employs about 25,000 teachers and staff in positions across 290 public schools (256 Department schools, 34 charter schools), 15 complex areas, and the state office. The Operating Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015-16 is $1.9 billion — $1.5 billion coming from the state's General Fund.

Money is allocated from the state's General Fund into program buckets, known as EDNs. Nearly all funds go to schools.

  • EDN 100 (58%) is almost entirely distributed to schools using the Weighted Student Formula (WSF). 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 (23%) supports special education students who may require or have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
  • E​DN 400 (13%) pays school bills — sewer, electric, water, repair, food service and others.

Here is a breakdown, by program category, of the $1.53 billion the State Legislature appropriated for FY 2015-16 during the 2015 session (HB 500 CD1​). Percentages are rounded:


EDN 100: School Based Budgeting$880.3 million 58%
EDN 150: Special Education$351.5 million 23%
EDN 200: Instructional Support$50.6 million 3%
EDN 300: State Administration$47.0 million 3%
EDN 400: School Support$195.2 million 13%
EDN 500: School Community Services$3 million < 1%
EDN 700: Early Learning$3.1 million < 1%

The 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 DOE’s Operating Budget.​ For FY 2015, $291.9 million has been allocated for CIP. Facilities staff work with principals directly to prioritized school-level needs.

Like the EDNs for the Operating Budget, CIP allocations are added lump-sum into buckets known as Key Performance Indicators that direct what projects funds can be used for. Like EDNs, funds allocated can only be spent in those buckets. They are:

  • Condition: Repair & Maintenance, Electrical/Technology Infrastructure, Hazardous Material Removal, Health & Safety, Structural Improvements
    • HIDOE FY 2015 ask: $134 million
    • 2015 Session Funding: Funded in full
  • Program Support: Gender Equity, New Restrooms, ADA Compliance, Support Program Spaces, Playground Equipment
    • HIDOE FY 2015 ask: $28.7 million
    • 2015 Session Funding: $16.5 million
  • Capacity: New Schools, Classroom Additions, Temporary Facilities, Repurposing existing to create capacity
    • HIDOE FY 2015 ask: $144 million
    • 2015 Session Funding:  $10 million
  • Equity: Science Facilities, Special Education, Energy Improvement, Right-sizing of spaces, Physical Education, Noise/Heat Abatement
    • HIDOE FY 2015 ask: $91 million
    • 2015 Session Funding: $15 million​
    • NOTE: In response to heat concerns, HIDOE has been approved to shift $20 million from ​the funded "condition" bucket to accelerate emergency cooling efforts.

Additionally, millions are allocated annually in "legislative add-ons" for one-off projects at individual schools and buildings. The list can be seen each year in the final budget bill, under "G. Formal Education EDN 100 - School-Based Budgeting." View the 2015 Session budget bill, with funding amounts and projects.

Funding the Operating Budget

​​The Department’s Operating Budget funding comes from four sources (see pie chart, below):

  • 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.
budget chart​​

Here is a breakdown of Department Operating budget funding across all sources dating to FY 2008-09
(Source: Executive Biennium and Supplemental Budget Bills):

FY2015-16 FY2014-15 FY2013-14 FY2012-13
General funds $1,530,655,758 $1,402,889,559 $1,399,913,038 $1,348,108,657
Federal funds $258,012,049 $250,994,824 $259,250,749 $284,547,256
Special funds $96,755,7477 $95,339,367 $95,339,367 $96,535,944
Trust funds $17,640,000 $24,290,000 $24,290,000 $32,919,060
TOTAL $1,903,063,554 $1,773,513,750 $1,778,793,154 $1,762,110,917

FY2011-12 FY2010-11 FY2009-10 FY2008-09
General funds $1,365,566,677 $1,253,433,452 $1,396,097,613 $1,394,564,070
Federal funds $311,496,353 $305,716,386 $374,991,570 $261,847,302
Special funds $88,045,223 $79,055,420 $75,406,544 $67,782,450
Trust funds $32,990,000 $13,716,215 $13,750,000 $13,750,000
TOTAL $1,798,098,253 $1,651,921,473 $1,860,245,727 $1,737,943,822

How does Hawaii’s educational spending compare?

The funding of public schools 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 Hawaii's spending 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​, reflecting Fiscal Year 2013 data, released in June 2015 (figures pulled from Tables 11 and 12):

  • FY 2013 PER-PUPIL FUNDING: $11,823
REVENUES — Hawaii is:
  • 19th in the nation for per-pupil revenue. Hawaii has one of the highest costs of living in the country, yet its school system receives less than 18 other states.
  • 39th in the nation for revenue per $1,000 of personal income in the state. Hawaii's public schools are given $36.74 for every $1,000 of income earned in the state. Thirty-eight other states spend a larger fraction of personal income on public schools.
SPENDING — Hawaii is:
  • 17th in the nation for per-pupil spending. Hawaii is:
    • 19th in the nation for spending on instruction ($6,949 per pupil)
    • 51st in the nation (last among all states and D.C.) for spending on general administration ($63)
    • 11th in the nation for spending on school administration ($738)

Per-pupil funding includes monies from EDNs 100-400, and includes all means of finance: state, federal, special and trust. 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 2014-15, per-pupil funding for the Department and charter schools was $6,315.02.

Annual Financial Audit

The most recent Annual Financial Audit​, covering the 2014 fiscal year (FY 2014), shows the Department is doing a better job at keeping its finances in order. The independent report analyzed financial statements of the public school system, including operating, capital improvement and federal funds. View report.​

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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