The Department's Budget

The Department operates Hawaii's public schools on a $2.1 billion budget made up primarily of state funds (82 percent). It develops and upgrades facilities with a separate Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget sourced almost entirely from the state. Learn about the DOE budget, state comparisons and more.

Quick Links

CARES Act spending: Monthly status reports.

Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget Summary.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Budget process

The state of Hawaii runs its budget on a fiscal biennium that's submitted to the Hawaii State Legislature during odd-numbered years, with course-corrections and new asks submitted during the intervening years via a supplemental budget. The Board of Education approves the Department's budgetary ask annually in October. The budget is then modified by the state Department of Budget and Finance before a formal submission to the Legislature when its session begins in January. This chart provides an overview of what the budget process looks like.

The DOE's budget is made up of:

  • An operating budget to cover the expense of running schools; and
  • A Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget to cover the expense of maintaining, developing and upgrading school facilities and campuses.

In January 2020, the Hawaiʻi DOE presented its fiscal year 2021 budget to several committees of the state Legislature. Click below to view the presentations and supplemental materials.
FY 21 Supplemental Operating Budget (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021)

The 2020 legislative session was suspended in mid-March due to COVID-19, and all bills and hearings were postponed indefinitely at the time. In May, the Legislature announced it would reconvene to address the state's budget shortffall.

On May 21, 2020, the Legislature passed a budget bill that reduces the Department's general fund base budget in the current and next fiscal year, FY 2020 and FY 2021.


The Legislature met for only a brief time and reconvened again in mid-June.

On June 4, 2020, the Department provided the Board of Education with an update on budget appropriation adjustments passed by the Legislature via HB 2200 HD1 SD1, which became law on July 7 as Act 007, Sessions Laws of Hawaii 2020, without the governor's signature.

The Legislature reconvened on June 22, 2020, to incorporate the Council on Revenues May 28 forecast and any additional federal COVID-19 impact relief funds approved by Congress. The budget bill (HB 2200 HD1 SD1) passed in May was amended on June 26, when the Legislature passed another bill (SB 126 SD1 HD1 CD 1) restoring all of the Department's FY 2021 vacant position full-time equivalent (FTE) reductions.

SB 126, SD1 HD1 CD1 includes how appropriations from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act are distributed statewide. The Department does not receive direct appropriations from SB 126, SD1, HD1, CD1 of the state’s share of CARES Act funding. Funding that benefits the Department is appropriated to other state agencies: Department of Defense, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and Office of the Governor.

On July 31, 2020, the Governor signed SB 126 SD1 HD1 CD1 into law as Act 009, SLH 2020, incorporating line-item vetoes per Governor’s Message No. 1112, dated July 30, 2020.

Act 009, SLH 2020

Governor's Message No. 1112

The Governor’s line-item vetoes did not have a direct impact on the Department’s appropriations for FY 21.  

Although the net change to the Department’s general fund appropriation was -$88,785,572 for FY 21 due to the incorporation of existing appropriations from Act 276, SLH 2019, the overall impact of Act 009, SLH 2020, is a $100.2 million reduction to the Department's general fund base budget.

Act 009, SLH 2020, also did not include any of the Department’s requests for additional appropriations for its supplemental FY 2021 budget, that were submitted to the Legislature as part of the Governor’s Supplemental Executive Budget. 

FY21 Supplemental Budget Request 

Budget instructions from the Department of Budget & Finance were issued on Sept. 4, 2019, as Finance Memorandum FM-19-11. The Board of Education approved the Department's Operating and CIP budget requests on Oct. 3, 2019. They were submitted to the Department of Budget & Finance for review by the Governor and decisions were issued on November 22, 2019.  The Governor’s decisions are documented in Finance Memorandum (FM) 19-18 and FM 19-18 Attachment (EDN – HTH); and will be transmitted to the Legislature for discussions and debate starting January 2020. The details of the Governor’s additions to the Department’s operating budget are included in the Department of Budget & Finance Form A’s and Form A’s for- trade off transfers.

On 12/16/2019, the Legislature sent out budget briefing instructions to all departments.

IN PLACE NOW: FB 2019-21 (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021)

The Board of Education approved the Fiscal Biennium budget on Oct. 18, 2018. It was reviewed by the state Department of Budget and Finance and approved by the Governor on Nov. 27, 2018, for referral to the Hawaii State Legislature. The 2019 Legislature transmitted HB2, CD1 for Governor's approval in the spring of 2019 and it was enacted on April 12, 2019 as Act 005/SLH 2019. Click to view:

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The operating budget

The Hawaii State Department of Education educates and supports approximately 180,000 students and employs approximately 22,000 full-time employees and 20,000 substitutes and casual employees in positions across 294 public schools, 15 complex areas, and the state office. The operating budget for FY 2020 is $2.1 billion — $1.74 billion coming from the state's General Fund. Funds are distributed by program categories, known as EDNs. Nearly all funds go to schools.

  • EDN 100 (58.8%) 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 (22.2%) supports special education students who may require or have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
  • E​DN 400 (11.6%) pays school bills — sewer, electric, water, repair, food service and others.
  • EDN 500 (0.2%) pays for Adult Education programs at public schools.
  • EDN 700 (0.6%) pays for pre-kindergarten programs at public schools.

FY 2021
Here is a breakdown, by program category, of what the Legislature appropriated for FY 2021 during the 2020 session. Percentages are rounded:

EDN 100: School Based Budgeting$1.009 billion
EDN 150: Special Education$390.9 million
EDN 200: Instructional Support
$59. 2 million
EDN 300: State Administration$52 million
EDN 400: School Support$143.7 million
EDN 500: School Community Services$4.1 million
< 1%
EDN 700: Early Learning$9.9 million
< 1%


The 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.
  • 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 (yellow): 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 (green): May include donations & gifts, foundations & other grants, school athletic program activity collections, and “fair share” and School Impact District​ developer fees.
FY20 pie chart: 82% general (state) funds, 13% federal funds, 4% special funds, 1% trust funds.


Here is a breakdown of the Department's Operating budget funding across all sources dating to FY10 (Source: Executive Biennium and Supplemental Budget Bills):


The Capital Improvements Program budget

The Capital Improvements Program (CIP) pays for 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.​ Facilities staff work with principals directly to prioritize school-level needs. 

Like the EDNs for the Operating budget, CIP appropriations are added into planning categories that direct how the funds can be used. Funds appropriated are expended in these buckets. They are:

  • Capacity: New Schools, new classroom buildings, classroom additions, expansions, portable replacement, land acquisition
  • Repair & Maintenance: Building envelope preservation, structural repairs
  • Health & Safety: Traffic safety and parking, flood mitigation, security/vulnerability, hazardous materials, heat abatement
  • Compliance: ADA, Title IX
  • Instructional: Facilities meeting particular program requirements of Career and Technical Education, STEM, Arts, Special Education, and EDSPEC instructional spaces
  • Innovation: Energy efficiency, alternative energy, revenue generation, public/private partnerships
  • Support: Administration, library, food service, PE/Athletics, electrical upgrades, state/district/complex offices, EDSPEC support spaces
  • Equipment: 21st Century furniture
  • Project Completion: Supplemental consultant services, project cost overruns
  • Technology Infrastructure: Network equipment, program bells, paging system

Amounts are rounded​. The chart shows Board-approved CIP budgetary requests (REQUESTED) and the Legislature's appropriation (APPROVED) for the next fiscal biennium. Amounts in the supplemental budget will change when that request is submitted and reviewed during the 2020 Legislative session. Special requests and line items are noted below the subtotal.

FY20 (Biennium Budget)

FY21 (Supplemental Budget)

$252 million
$252 million
Repair & Maintenance
$175 million $110.7 million
$175 million
$110.7 million
Health & Safety
$36.9 million
$10 million
$38 million
$27.7 million
$5 million
$14.4 million
$156.1 million
$156.1 million
$1 million​0​ $1 million0
$45.5 million​0​ $45.5 million0
$4.2 million​0​
$4.2 million
Project Completion​$30 million​$38 million
​$30 million$38 million​
​Technology Infrastructure
$9.1 million​$8.5 million​$3 million​$2.5 million​
SUBTOTAL $737.5 million $178.7 million $719.2 million $ 150.5 million
Legislative Add-Onsn/a
$294.7 million
$52.7 million
​Mokapu Elementary
$92.5 million​n/a
​Renovation of Pre-K Classrooms
$14.3 million​$6.5 million​n/a​n/a
TOTAL $751.8 million $565.9 million $719.2 million $203.2 million

Financial reporting under ESSA

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has a per-pupil expenditure (PPE) reporting requirement, as follows: 

“Each State report card… shall include the following:… the per-pupil expenditures of Federal, State, and local funds, including actual personnel expenditures and actual nonpersonnel expenditures of Federal, State, and local funds, disaggregated by source of funds, for each local educational agency and each school in the State…" [ESEA Sec. 1111(h)(1)C)(x)] 

The Hawaii DOE began reporting the PPE on a statewide basis and for individual school beginning in 2019, using fiscal year 2017-18 data. On an annual basis, the Department will update these reports and post them to our ESSA dashboard site. To learn more about how PPE is calculated at these various levels, and to understand the factors that drive variances between schools, please review:

How does Hawaii’s educational spending compare nationally?

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 survey reflecting Fiscal Year 2017 data, released April 2019 (figures pulled from Summary Tables 11 and 12). All rankings are based on the 50 states and the District of Columbia:

  • FY 2017 PER-PUPIL SPENDING: $14,322. The national average is $12,201.
REVENUES — Hawaii is:
  • 16th in the nation for per-pupil revenue, down from 12th in the nation the year prior. Hawaii has one of the highest costs of living in the country, yet its school system receives less than 15 other states.

  • 39th in the nation for revenue per $1,000 of personal income in the state, down from 25th in the nation the year prior. Hawaii's public schools are given $39.15 for every $1,000 of income earned in the state. Thirty-eight other states spend a larger fraction of personal income on public schools. The U.S. average is $43.07. The highest is Alaska at $60.41.
SPENDING — Hawaii is:
  • 15th highest in the nation for per-pupil spending. We are:
    • 15th in the nation for spending on instruction at $8,373 per pupil (U.S. average is $7,406).
    • 51st in the nation (lowest) for spending on general administration at $72 per pupil (U.S. average is $230).
    • 5th in the nation for spending on school administration at $1,029 (U.S. average is $674).

This nationally reported 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. The state's per pupil funding formula, contained in statute §302D-28, is based on the DOE's EDN 100, 200, 300, and 400 general fund budget. By that base calculation, for FY 2017-18, per-pupil funding for the Department and charter schools was $7,359, and is adjusted each year to align with funding levels for the Department.

Annual Financial and Single Audit Report

An independent report analyzing financial statements of the public school system, including operating, capital improvement and federal funds. FY 2019 report released April 13, 2020. View report.

Past audits, dating back to 2002, can be found in our Report Finder tool.

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 2000

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


Contact Information

Budget Branch

Phone: 808-784-6020


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