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

Colorado

D+
Scoring
Per Pupil Expenditures 26.00 / 45
Total Expenditure Data 22.50 / 30
Average Salary Data 7.00 / 10
Public Accessibility 12.50 / 15
Total Score 68.00 / 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

Colorado’s Department of Education provides only five years of School District Revenues and Expenditures reports, which contain total per pupil expenditure data. Colorado is missing the most recent year of per pupil 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
Full Credit Full Credit
Years of Data 5 years 5 years
Score 5 / 10 5 / 10 10 / 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 26 / 45

Total Expenditure Data

Colorado provides only five years of School District Revenues and Expenditures reports, which contain total expenditure data, including capital expenditures and retirement contributions. Total salary expenditures are available at the object and summary levels only and include data on employee benefits. Colorado is missing the most recent year of expenditures.

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 Object / Summary with Benefits Object / Summary with Benefits
Score 2 / 2 2 / 2 4 / 4
Pension Data None None
Score 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 4
Years of Data 5 years 5 years
Score 1.25 / 2.5 1.25 / 2.5 2.5 / 5
Most Recent Year 2010-11 2010-11
Score 2 / 2.5 2 / 2.5 4 / 5
Total 22.5 / 30

Average Salary Data

Colorado provides more than five years of Average Teacher Salaries reports, which contain average salary data for teachers only. More than five years of average salary data for administrators and non-teaching staff are available in the School/District Staff Statistics. Colorado is missing the most recent year of average teacher salary data and the two most recent years of data for administrators and nonteaching staff. Data on employee benefits are not provided.

Average Salary Data
Metric
Category State District Score
Categories Covered Teachers, administrators, non-teaching staff Teachers, administrators, non-teaching staff
Score 1.5 / 1.5 1.5 / 1.5 3 / 3
Employee Benefits No No
Score 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2
Years of Data 5+ years 5+ years
Score 1.25 / 1.25 1.25 / 1.25 2.5 / 2.5
Most Recent Year 2009–10* 2009–10*
Score 0.75 / 1.25 0.75 / 1.25 1.5 / 2.5
Total 7 / 10

Public Accessibility

Navigation: Colorado’s Department of Education website is well-organized and easy to navigate. The homepage includes a link to “Offices” which contains links to “Data Services” and “School Finance” among other offices. The links to each office are followed by a brief explanation of the information found there. All relevant expenditure data are found at the School Finance page, while average salary data are found at the Data Services page under the “School/District Staff Statistics” link.

Ease of Public Analysis: Colorado’s expenditure data are provided in Excel spreadsheets only, which limits the readability of the data. Colorado’s average salary data are provided in PDF format only, which limits the ability of users to analyze the data.

Public Accessibility
Category Metric Score
Navigation Full Credit: Very easy for a layperson to locate the desired data. All relevant data are in close proximity with a main menu that is clear and commonsensical. 5 / 5
Ease of Public Analysis

Format: (minus 2.5 points)

  • Expenditure data in Excel spreadsheets only.
  • Average salary data in PDF only.
7.5 / 10
Total 12.5 / 15

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