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Link Data on Spending and Teacher Quality

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Principle Recommendation

Require the Uniform Chart of Accounts to include information about the distribution of effective teachers.

Current Connecticut Statute

C.G.S. 10-10c requires the creation of a Uniform Chart of Accounts (UCOA) at the school-, district-, and state-levels. The UCOA will require each public school to report its expenditures and revenues in the same way.

The UCOA will ensure that each school in the state consistently reports its financial information.  Although the statute is not specific about the non-financial information that could be included in the UCOA, it is important to tie this financial information to school level qualitative data so that we can measure the longitudinal effectiveness of publicly funded education programs. [i]

Supporting Research

Connecticut spends about $5 billion on elementary and secondary education. [ii]  Each community collects and reports its information about education expenditures differently, making financial comparisons problematic.  For instance, Bridgeport maintains 19 separate governmental funds, which makes comparisons of Bridgeport’s school expenditures with those in other communities challenging.[iii]

Other states have made the reporting of school and district information a priority.  For instance, as part of its education reform program, Rhode Island has required each public school to use the same accounting structure that enables “apples-to-apples comparisons”.[iv]  With this comparative information, it is expected that policy-makers will use this data to inform and improve their financial decision-making.

Michigan has gone even further in the creation of its UCOA; the state collects and publicly reports school level financial, teacher, student, and accountability data on an easy-to-use dashboard.[v] With such a usable format, policy-makers can access important data that helps inform their education policy decisions.  Additionally, families can use this data to help them make educational choices for their children.

Sources

[i] C.G.S. 10-10c allows the UCOA to include” select measures … at the individual school level, as determined by the department” but its non-specificity seems to be leading away from important qualitative measures such as teacher effectiveness.
[ii] Estimate updated by K. Guay based on FY 2012-13 state funding calculated by the State Department of Education, retrieved from here: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/PDF/dgm/report1/lsf.pdf
[iii] City of Bridgeport, CT, Financial Report, June 30, 2013, retrieved from: https://www.appsvcs.opm.ct.gov/Auditing/Public/Report.aspx
[iv] Uniform Chart of Accounts, Rhode Island Department of Education, retrieved from: http://www.ride.ri.gov/FundingFinance/SchoolDistrictFinancialData/UniformChartofAccounts.aspx
[v] Michigan School and Financial Data dashboard, retrieved from: https://www.mischooldata.org/DistrictSchoolProfiles/FinancialInformation/FinancialSummary.aspx