Ron Bennett, the gregarious president of School Services of California recently referred me to ed-data.k12.ca.us, an excellent resource that contains a wealth of publicly-accessible information about “student demographics and performance, staffing and teacher salaries, as well as information about financial reports for all districts, county offices of education, and state.”
From their About page:
Launched in 1996, the Ed-Data website is designed to offer educators, policy makers, the Legislature, parents, and the public quick access to timely and comprehensive data about K-12 education in California. It is operated through a partnership of the California Department of Education (CDE), EdSource, and the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT). FCMAT’s California School Information Services (CSIS) hosts and maintains the site.
In addition to a wealth of data at multiple levels and over many years, Ed-Data also offers articles and explanations that provide important context for the data.
Click the link or image above, and you are granted instant access to all of the records the State of California requires of its public schools. I pulled a quick financial report comparing the per-student expenditures of all of the school districts in the state in the following categories:
- Certificated salaries (teachers)
- Classified salaries (these are positions like librarians, custodians, campus supervisors, instructional aides, health techs, etc.)
- Employee benefits
- Books and supplies
- Services and other expenditures
- A subtotal of the sum of the five categories listed above
I’ve embedded a Google Spreadsheet with the data below (sorted from least to greatest by Column Q, the Subtotal Expenditures), but I really encourage you to pull your own information. If I’m being honest, these numbers paint a less-than-pretty picture of the current appropriation of our district’s revenue, especially as it pertains to our Classified expenditures. For those interested, I’ve added columns T—Y, which show our state rank out of the 951 school districts for which the information is listed in the report.
It should be noted that these figures are based off 2012-13 numbers. This is before the Local Control Accountability Plan went into effect, so it is undoubtedly not the most currently-accurate information. Unfortunately, it is the most current information we have.
What this means for Romoland School District is up for debate. I am sure there are logical arguments to be made from both sides of the aisle as it pertains to our seemingly low level of classified spending. What I’m interested in is seeing an empirically-focused dialogue take place. Not excuses from the district office. Not unwarranted attacks from the association. Just a mutual understanding of what the numbers mean for Romoland’s students, and what changes (if any) need to take place to better serve them.