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

Georgia

F
Scoring
Per Pupil Expenditures 14.00 / 45
Total Expenditure Data 24.00 / 30
Average Salary Data 7.50 / 10
Public Accessibility 9.50 / 15
Total Score 55.00 / 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

Georgia’s Department of Education provides eight years of Report Cards, which contain operating per pupil expenditure data, but fail to provide total per pupil expenditures. Georgia 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 spending over time. Additionally, in the 2010–11 statewide Report Card, the “expenditures per FTE” (per pupil expenditures) column is inexplicably blank while the “revenue per FTE” column is clearly incorrect, as it is unlikely that the revenues were nearly $1.5 million per pupil in 2010–11 when they were just over $8,000 per pupil in 2009–10.

Per Pupil Expenditures
Metric
Category State District Score
Type of PPE Credit Operating Operating
Half Credit Half Credit
Years of Data 8 years 8 years
Score 4 / 10 4 / 10 8 / 20
Most Recent Year 2009–10* 2010–11
Score 2 / 10 4 / 10 6 / 20
Historical Comparison None None
Score 0 / 2.5 0 / 2.5 0 / 5
Total 14 / 45

Total Expenditure Data

Georgia’s Department of Education provides eight years of Report Cards, which contain operating per pupil expenditure data. Georgia 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 spending over time. Additionally, in the 2010–11 statewide Report Card, the “expenditures per FTE” (per pupil expenditures) column is inexplicably blank while the “revenue per FTE” column is clearly incorrect, as it is unlikely that the revenues were nearly $1.5 million per pupil in 2010–11 when they were just over $8,000 per pupil in 2009–10.

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 8 years 8 years
Score 2 / 2.5 2 / 2.5 4 / 5
Most Recent Year 2010–11 2010–11
Score 2 / 2.5 2 / 2.5 4 / 5
Total 24 / 30

Average Salary Data

Georgia provides more than five years average salary data for teachers, administrators, and non-teaching staff. Georgia is missing average salary data for the most recent school year. Data on average employee benefits are not provided.

Average Salary Data
Metric
Category State District Score
Categories Covered Teachers, administrators, and non-teaching staff None
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 2010–11 2010–11
Score 1 / 1.25 1 / 1.25 2 / 2.5
Total 7.5 / 10

Public Accessibility

Navigation: Georgia’s Department of Education website is somewhat difficult to navigate. The homepage includes a link to “Financial Reports” at the bottom of the page under the “Data & Reports” heading. That page contains an applet that generates numerous reports, but none of these contain expenditure data. To find the desired expenditure data, the user must click one of the three links (“By State,” “By District,” or “By School”) under the large, red image of the state of Georgia with the headline “School Reports.” These links lead to an applet that provides a “Report Card” for nine years of data. The user will find most financial data by clicking on the “Revenues and Expenditures” link under the “Personnel and Fiscal” tab of the report. The user can obtain previous years’ reports by changing the year at the top-left corner of the page. Unfortunately, one cannot change the year of the report while remaining in the same part of the report (e.g., Revenues and Expenditures), as the applet always reverts to the “Georgia Tests” tab.

Ease of Public Analysis: Georgia’s financial data are provided in HTML format only, which limits the ability of users to analyze the data. The reports occasionally contain jargon that might confuse a layperson such as “Per FTE” rather than “per pupil expenditures”. As noted above, the statewide per pupil expenditure data for 2010–11 is missing, while per pupil expenditures are incorrect.

Public Accessibility
Category Metric Score
Navigation 3 points: Somewhat difficult for a layperson to locate the desired data. Moderate design flaws that somewhat inhibit navigability. 3 / 5
Ease of Public Analysis

Format: HTML only (minus 2.5 points)

Deductions for: Use of jargon that the public cannot be reasonably expected to understand (minus 1 point)

6.5 / 10
Total 9.5 / 15

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