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

Maine

D+
Scoring
Per Pupil Expenditures 28.75 / 45
Total Expenditure Data 24.00 / 30
Average Salary Data 8.00 / 10
Public Accessibility 9.00 / 15
Total Score 69.75 / 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

Maine’s Department of Education provides only six years of Resident Expenditures by Budget Categories reports, which contain total per pupil expenditure data. Maine is missing the most recent year of per pupil expenditures. Maine provides a table and bar graph that allow citizens to compare changes in statewide per pupil expenditures over time, though the figures are for operating, not total per pupil, expenditures, and they are not adjusted for inflation. There are no comparisons offered at the district level.

Per Pupil Expenditures
Metric
Category State District Score
Type of PPE Total Total
Credit Full Credit Full Credit
Years of Data 6 years 6 years
Score 6 / 10 6 / 10 12 / 20
Most Recent Year 2010-11 2010-11
Score 8 / 10 8 / 10 16 / 20
Historical Comparison Included* None
Score 0.75 / 2.5 0 / 2.5 0.75 / 5
Total 28.75 / 45

Total Expenditure Data

Maine provides more than ten years of Resident Expenditures by Budget Categories reports, which contain total expenditure data, including capital expenditures. Maine is missing the most recent year of expenditures. Maine also provides the State and Local Funds for Education report that includes a chart with ten years of teacher retirement expenditures.

Five years of statewide total salary expenditures, including benefits, are available at only the summary level in the State & Local Expenditure Trends by Function reports. Maine is missing the six most recent years of total salary data and fails to provide any district–level total salary 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 None
Score 1 / 2 0 / 2 1 / 4
Pension Data Included None
Score 2 / 2 0 / 2 2 / 4
Years of Data 10+ years* 10+ years*
Score 2 / 2.5 2.5 / 2.5 4.5 / 5
Most Recent Year 2010–11* 2010–11*
Score 2 / 2.5 2 / 2.5 4.5 / 5
Total 24 / 30

Average Salary Data

Maine provides more than five years average salary data for teachers, administrators, and non-teaching staff through the 2011–12 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 Teachers, administrators, and non-teaching staff
Score 1.5 / 1.5 1.5 / 1.5 3 / 3
Employee Benefits None None
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 2011–12 2011–12
Score 1.25 / 1.25 1.25 / 1.25 2.5 / 2.5
Total 8 / 10

Public Accessibility

Navigation: Maine’s Department of Education website is fairly easy to navigate. The homepage contains a link to “Data & Reporting” which includes a link to the School Funding & Finance page. The “Expenditure by Budget Category” reports contain most of the expenditure data while the “Statewide Financial Data” link contains the State & Local Expenditure Trends by Function reports with total salary data. To access average salary data, the user must click on “Student and Staff Data” on the “Data and Reporting” page, then select “Staff Data” then “Professional Staff”.

Ease of Public Analysis: Maine’s financial data are provided in PDF format only, which limits the ability of users to analyze the data. Maine provides total per pupil expenditures as a part of the “Resident Expenditures by Budget Category” reports, but the “Per Pupil Expenditures” link on the “School Funding & Finance” page offers only operating per pupil expenditures. This is likely to confuse laypeople searching for per pupil expenditure 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: All data either in PDF or HTML (minus
2.5 points)

Deductions for: Total per pupil expenditures are more difficult to find than operating per pupil expenditures (minus 2.5 points)

5 / 10
Total 9 / 15

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