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

Rhode Island

C-
Scoring
Per Pupil Expenditures 36.00 / 45
Total Expenditure Data 25.75 / 30
Average Salary Data 0.00 / 10
Public Accessibility 11.00 / 15
Total Score 72.75 / 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.

Updates

Rhode Island’s score has been updated to include the “Uniform Chart of Accounts” section, which provides expenditure data post-2008-09.

Per Pupil Expenditures

Rhode Island’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides more than ten years of In$ite Charts & Reports. The reports contain total per pupil expenditure data. Expenditure data since 2009-10 are located in the Uniform Chart of Accounts reports. Rhode Island is missing the most recent year of expenditure data 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

Rhode Island provides more than ten years of total expenditure data, including capital expenditures in the IN$ITE reports. Statewide total salary expenditures, including benefits, are available at the summary and object levels do not include any pension data or district-level total salary expenditure data. Expenditure data since 2009-10 are located in the Uniform Chart of Accounts reports, including pension data or district-level total salary expenditure data with benefits. Rhode Island is missing the most recent year of expenditure 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 Object / Summary, With Benefits* Object / Summary, With Benefits, Limited Years*
Score 1.75 / 2 1 / 2 2.75 / 4
Pension Data Included, Limited Years* Included, Limited Years*
Score 1 / 2 1 / 2 2 / 4
Years of Data 10+ years 10+ years
Score 2.5 / 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 25.75 / 30

Average Salary Data

Rhode Island fails to provide any data regarding average employee salaries.

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: Rhode Island’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website was difficult for a layperson to navigate. The homepage lacked intuitive links to “School Finance” or “Reports.” The “Data” dropdown box contained a link to “School and District Statistics” and “School and District Reports” but these did not contain expenditure data. The relevant data was located at the “IN$ITE” link under the “Data” dropdown box. The left-side menu included links to each available year’s Charts & Reports. The “All Districts Combined — Expenditure Charts” link contained the relevant expenditure data up to 2008-09. More recent data was available at the “Uniform Chart of Accounts” section, but there was no message at the “IN$ITE” page indicating where to find more recent data.

Ease of Public Analysis: The financial data that Rhode Island provides in IN$ITE are in PDF format and MS Access but not Excel spreadsheets, which limits the ability of users to analyze the data. The Uniform Chart of Accounts data are provided in PDF and Excel.

[Note: The RI Department of Education website has since been updated and is now much easier to navigate. Scores reflect the website and data provided there as of December 31, 2012.]

Public Accessibility
Category Metric Score
Navigation 2 points: Difficult for a layperson to locate the desired data. Major design flaws that considerably inhibit navigability. 2 / 5
Ease of Public Analysis

Format: (minus 1 points)

PDF and Access with some recent data in Excel

9 / 10
Total 11 / 15

Links