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

California

B-
Scoring
Per Pupil Expenditures 36.00 / 45
Total Expenditure Data 25.00 / 30
Average Salary Data 8.00 / 10
Public Accessibility 11.00 / 15
Total Score 80.00 / 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

The California Department of Education provides more than ten years of the Current Expense of Education report, which contains operating per pupil expenditure data. California is missing the most recent year of expenditures and fails to provide a table or graph that would allow citizens to easily compare changes in per pupil expenditures over time.

Per Pupil Expenditures
Metric
Category State District Score
Type of Per Pupil Expenditures Total Total
Credit Full Credit Full Credit
Years of Data 10+ years 10+ years
Score 10 / 10 10 / 10 20 / 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 36 / 45

Total Expenditure Data

California provides more than ten years of Statewide Totals and Averages for School Districts reports and District Reports on their Ed-Data website. The reports contain statewide and district-level total expenditure data respectively, including capital expenditures and district-level pensions. Total salary expenditures, including benefits, are available at the summary level only. California is missing the most recent year of expenditures and fails to provide statewide pension 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 with Benefits Summary with Benefits
Score 1 / 2 1 / 2 2 / 4
Pension Data None Included
Score 0 / 2 2 / 2 2 / 4
Years of Data 10+ years 10+ years
Score 2.25 / 2.5 2.5 / 2.5 5 / 5
Most Recent Year 2010-11 2010-11
Score 2 / 2.5 2 / 2.5 4 / 5
Total 25 / 30

Average Salary Data

California provides more than five years Selected Certificated Salaries and Related Statistics reports, which contain average salary data for teachers only, including benefits, through the 2011–12 school year.

Average Salary Data
Metric
Category State District Score
Categories Covered Teachers Teachers
Score 0.5 / 1.5 0.5 / 1.5 1 / 3
Employee Benefits Included Included
Score 1 / 1 1 / 1 2 / 2
Years of Data 5+ years 5+ years
Score 1.25 / 1.25 1.25 / 1.25 2.5 / 2.5
Most Recent Year 2011–12 2011–12
Score 1.25 / 1.25 1.25 / 1.25 2.5 / 2.5
Total 8 / 10

Public Accessibility

Navigation: California’s Department of Education website is fairly easy to navigate. The homepage contains a link to the “Data & Statistics” page in the menu bar, which includes a link to the “Annual Financial Data” page where the “Ed-Data” link is located. The “Financial Reports” link under the “State” heading on the menu bar leads to a page with the State and District Reports, which contain expenditure data. The “Data & Statistics” page also includes a link to the “Financial” page on the left menu bar. The Current Expense of Education & Per-pupil Spending report on that page includes operating expenditures only. Average salaries are found in the Certificated Salaries & Benefits reports on that page.

Ease of Public Analysis: California’s expenditure data are provided in HTML format only, which limits the ability of users to analyze the data. Average salary data are provided in MS Access format only, which limits the ability of average citizens to access 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: (minus 3 points) PPE/Total expenditures: HTML only
Average salary: MS Access
7 / 10
Total 11/15

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