Cracking the Books: How Well Do State Education Departments Report Public School Spending?

Alabama

D+
Scoring
Per Pupil Expenditures 34.00 / 45
Total Expenditure Data 21.50 / 30
Average Salary Data 0.00 / 10
Public Accessibility 11.50 / 15
Total Score 67.00 / 100

Note: Scores reflect the data provided on each state's education department website as of December 31, 2012. For more information, please see the Grading Criteria section.

Per Pupil Expenditures

While Alabama’s Department of Education provides more than ten years total per pupil expenditures data in the State Department of Education Reports and Alabama Education Report Cards, the report for 2007–08 is missing. Alabama is also missing the most recent year of per pupil expenditures and fails to provide a chart that would allow citizens to easily compare changes in per pupil expenditures over time.

Alabama also publishes District Profile reports that include per pupil expenditures at the district level. There are eight years of these reports, ending with 2008–09. Data from this report was not combined with the most recent Alabama Education Report Card data for scoring purposes.

Per Pupil Expenditures
Metric
Category State District Score
Type of Per Pupil Expenditures Total Total
Full Credit Full Credit
Years of Data 9 years 9 years
Score 9 / 10 9 / 10 18 / 20
Most Recent Year 2010-11 2010-11
Score 8 / 10 8 / 10 16 / 20
Historical Comparison None None
Score 0 / 2.5 0 / 2.5 0/ 5
Total 34 / 45

Total Expenditure Data

Alabama provides more than ten years of total expenditure data, including capital expenditures, in the State Department of Education Annual Reports and Alabama Education Report Cards. Statewide total salary expenditures, including benefits, are available at the summary level. Alabama is missing the most recent year of expenditures as well as data for the 2007-08 school year and fails to provide any pension data or district-level total salary expenditures data.

Total Expenditure Data
Metric
Category State District Score
Total Expenditures Object / Summary Object / Summary
Score 4 / 4 4 / 4 8 / 8
Capital Expenditures Included Included
Score 2 / 2 2 / 2 4 / 4
Total Salary Data Summary None
Score 1 / 2 0 / 2 1 / 4
Pension Data None None
Score 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 4
Years of Data 9 years 9 years
Score 2.25 / 2.5 2.25 / 2.5 4.5 / 5
Most Recent Year 2010-11 2010-11
Score 2 / 2.5 2 / 2.5 4 / 5
Total 21.5 / 30

Average Salary Data

Alabama fails to provide any average salary data.

Average Salary Data
Metric
Category State District Score
Categories Covered None None
Score 0 / 1.5 0 / 1.5 0 / 3
Employee Benefits n / a n / a
Score 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2
Years of Data n / a n / a
Score 0 / 1.25 0 / 1.25 0 / 2.5
Most Recent Year n / a n / a
Score 0 / 1.25 0 / 1.25 0 / 2.5
Total 0 / 10

Public Accessibility

Navigation: The Alabama Department of Education’s website is fairly easy to navigate. While there are no links that pertain to school finance or expenditures, the homepage includes a link to the “Reports” section, which contains the State Department of Education Annual Reports and its more recent incarnation, the Alabama Education Report Card.

There are some red herrings on the site. For example, the Office of Financial Management page contains links to five pages, two of which (“LEA [Local Education Authority] Funding & State Audits” and “Operations”) are blank. None of them include the above reports.

Ease of Public Analysis: Alabama’s financial data reports are in PDF format only, which limits the ability of users to analyze the data.

Public Accessibility
Category Metric Score
Navigation 4 points: Fairly easy for a layperson to locate the desired data. Minor design flaws that slightly inhibit navigability. 4 / 5
Ease of Public Analysis Format: PDF only (minus 2.5 points) 7.5 / 10
Total 11.5 / 15

Links