•13,506 school district governments
•178 state-dependent school systems
•1,330 local-dependent school systems
•1,196 education service agencies (agencies providing support services to public school systems)
These terms may not appear in a district's name, even though the condition may apply.
- A unified school district includes elementary and secondary (middle school and high school) educational levels.
- The word central in a district's name indicates that there is one central administration that oversees the entire district.
- The word free in a district's name indicates that no tuition is charged to attend district schools. In New York, it is used in conjunction with union to indicate a district composed of multiple, formerly independent common school districts now free of restrictions placed on New York State's common school districts.
- The word union or consolidated in a district's name indicates that it was formed from two or more districts.
- The word joint in a district's name indicates that it includes territory from more than one county.
- The word independent can have different meanings, depending on the state.
- Kentucky — Here, "Independent" districts are separate from county districts, the standard form of school district in the state. If a county has no independent district, its school district boundaries coincide exactly with its borders. As of 2007, the state has 54 independent districts scattered throughout the state, with major concentrations in Northern Kentucky and the Eastern Coal Fields region. These districts are generally associated with a city, or sometimes with a cluster of adjoining cities. Unlike county districts, independent districts can cross county lines, as in the Caverna Independent Schools centered on Cave City and Horse Cave and the Corbin Independent Schools. Note that some districts in the state are independent despite not having "Independent" in their official name, as in the Owensboro Public Schools and Paducah Public Schools.
- Minnesota — Per Minnesota Statue 120A.05, "Independent" denotes any school district validly created and existing as an independent, consolidated, joint independent, county or a ten or more township district as of July 1, 1957, or pursuant to the Education Code.
- Texas — Here, "Independent" denotes that the district is separate from any county- or municipal-level entity. All of the state's school districts, with only one exception (Stafford Municipal School District), are independent of any municipal or county control. Moreover, school district boundaries rarely coincide with municipal limits or county lines. Most districts use the term "Independent School District" in their name; in the few cases where the term "Common School District" is used the district is still an independent governmental entity.
- In Ohio, school districts are classified as either city school districts, exempted village school districts, or local school districts. City and exempted village school districts are exempted from county boards of education, while local school districts remain under county school board supervision. School districts may combine resources to form a fourth type of school district, the joint vocational school district, which focuses on a technical skills–based curriculum.
- In Michigan there are Intermediate School Districts (ISD), Regional Education Service Districts (RESD), or Regional Education Service Agencies (RESA) largely at the county level. The local schools districts run the schools and most programs, but often bi-lingual aides, programs for the deaf and blind, special education for the severely impaired, and career and technical education programs are run by the Intermediate School District or equivalent.