According to Census Bureau data for 2002-2003, the first full school year since NCLB was signed into law, school district debt surpassed $250 billion nationwide -- up 11% from the previous year -- while student enrollment nationally inched up to 47.6 million, a 1% increase. Spending nationally for public elementary and secondary school systems grew about 4% to $453 billion -- more than $38 billion of which went for construction costs in that school year alone.

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