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

Wisconsin

C+
Scoring
Per Pupil Expenditures 38.00 / 45
Total Expenditure Data 21.00 / 30
Average Salary Data 9.00 / 10
Public Accessibility 9.50 / 15
Total Score 77.50 / 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

Wisconsin’s Department of Education provides more than ten years of Comparative Cost Per Member Reports, which contain total per pupil expenditure data. Wisconsin is missing the most recent year of per pupil expenditures. Wisconsin provides a table that allows citizens to compare changes in per pupil expenditures over time, though the figures are limited to four years of data and are not adjusted for inflation.

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 Included* Included*
Score 1 / 2.5 1 / 2.5 2 / 5
Total 38 / 45

Total Expenditure Data

Wisconsin’s Department of Education provides more than ten years of Comparative Cost Per Member Reports (Detail Computation), which contain total expenditure data, including capital expenditures. Wyoming is missing the most recent year of expenditures and fails to provide total salary and 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 None None
Score 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 4
Pension Data None None
Score 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 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 21 / 30

Average Salary Data

Wisconsin provides more than five years of Salary and Demographic Reports, which contain average salary data for all teachers at the district level as well as actual salary data for all administrators and most non-teaching staff through the 2011–12 school year. Data on employee benefits are also provided. Wisconsin does not provide statewide average teacher salaries nor average salaries for administrators or non-teaching staff at either the state or district level.

Average Salary Data
Metric
Category State District Score
Categories Covered See below* Teachers, administrators, and non-teaching staff
Score 0.5 / 1.5 1.5 / 1.5 2 / 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 9 / 10

Public Accessibility

Navigation: The homepage contains a link to “Data and Media” which leads the user to the “School Finance” section of the website. Per pupil expenditure and other financial data are found in the “Comparative Cost Per Member” section. Average salary data can be found by clicking on the “Staff / Teacher Data” option under the “Data and Media” link on the homepage, then selecting “School Staff and Salary Data”.

Ease of Public Analysis: Wisconsin’s financial data reports are only in Excel spreadsheets, which limits the readability for users. Moreover, the Excel spreadsheets use account codes for headings, making them difficult and time-consuming to interpret, though the site provides instructions for understanding relevant financial data. Salary data reports are in both Excel and PDF.

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

Deductions for:

  • Format: Excel spreadsheets only (minus 2.5 points)
  • Excel files are not clearly titled (minus 2 points)
5.5 / 10
Total 9.5 / 15

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