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


Per Pupil Expenditures 37.00 / 45
Total Expenditure Data 23.00 / 30
Average Salary Data 5.50 / 10
Public Accessibility 8.50 / 15
Total Score 74.00 / 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

Idaho’s State Department of Education provides eight years of Statewide Totals and District Comparisons Reports, which contain total per pupil expenditure data. Idaho is missing the most recent year of per pupil expenditures. Idaho provides a table that allows citizens to compare changes in per pupil expenditures over time, though the figures are limited to three consecutive years and are not adjusted for inflation.

Per Pupil Expenditures
Category State District Score
Type of Per Pupil Expenditures Total Total
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 0.5 / 2.5 0.5 / 2.5 1 / 5
Total 37 / 45

Total Expenditure Data

Idaho provides more than ten years of total expenditure data, including capital expenditures. Statewide total salary expenditures are available at the summary level only and include data on employee benefits. Elsewhere, in the Statewide Total Salaries by Position reports, Idaho provides object-level statewide salary data without benefits. Idaho fails to provide any total salary data for districts, nor any pension data.

Total Expenditure Data
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 None
Score 2 / 2 0 / 2 2 / 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 23 / 30

Average Salary Data

Idaho’s Average Total Salaries by Membership reports provide more than five years of statewide average salary data for teachers, administrators, and non-teaching staff. Idaho is missing statewide the last three years of average salary data. Data on average employee benefits are not provided.

District-level average salary data are available in the Idaho School District Profiles for teachers only. The reports provide actual salaries for superintendents. Idaho is missing district-level average salary data for the six most recent school years. Data on average employee benefits are not provided.

Average Salary Data
Category State District Score
Categories Covered Teachers, administrators, and non-teaching staff Teachers and administrators*
Score 1.5 / 1.5 1 / 1.5 2.5 / 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 2008–09 2005–06
Score 0.5 / 1.25 0 / 1.25 0.5 / 2.5
Total 5.5 / 10

Public Accessibility

Navigation: Finding financial information on the Idaho Department of Education website is difficult. The homepage has a “Data Collection” link which leads to a series of other links, including “Financial Status Report,” but the report does not include expenditure data. Though the page invites the viewer to “click here for a list of Applications on the new server,” the link brings the viewer back to the previous page. Under the “Directory” list, the link for “Fiscal Report Card” is likewise a dead end.

To find the relevant data, the user must click on the “Programs” link at the homepage, then click “Finance” then “Statistics” in the menu bar on the left side of the page. Expenditure data are found in the Statewide Totals and District Comparisons reports and district-level average salary data are found in the Idaho School District Profiles. The “Staffing” link in the left-side menu bar includes Statewide Average Base Salaries by Position reports and the Statewide Total Salaries by Position reports. The “Idaho School District Profiles” link in the same left-side menu provides reports containing district-level average salary data.

Ease of Public Analysis: Idaho’s expenditure data are provided in PDF format only, which limits the ability of users to analyze the data. The reports occasionally contain jargon that might confuse a layperson, such as “Expenditures Per First Reporting Period A.D.A.” rather than “per pupil expenditures.”  Average salary data are provided in both Excel spreadsheets and PDF format.

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 2.5 points) Expenditures: PDF only Average Salary: Excel spreadsheet and PDF

Deductions for: Use of jargon that the public cannot be reasonably expected to understand (minus 1 point)
6.5 / 10
Total 8.5 /15