If You Want Detailed Information
Kansas Education Comparative Performance and Fiscal System
The CP & FS, released in 2006, gives researchers the ability to customize the information they retrieve about school spending and student performance. You can retrieve information on one school district, all school districts, or any combination of school districts. (You cannot, however, retrieve information about the state as a whole.) You can also screen for districts based on poverty rate and other factors.Once you select the district(s) to be examined, you can draw from a number of data points, including budgets and student performance. The report emphasizes specific streams of spending, and if you add columns together, you may end up with double counting. So as interesting as this tool is, you cannot use it to look at a district’s overall spending–not unless you have access to much more information than we have available.
To look at overall spending by a district, or the state, move to the next item on this page.
If You Want Summary Information
Total Expenditures by District
The Total Expenditures by District (we’ll call it TED for short) is another good source of district-level data. The most recent reports are for the 2005-06 school year.
The page has three columns of numbers, each representing a school district, or USD. Click on the number for the USD. Or click where you see the words “State totals.” Be warned that these reports, which are only one page long, are Adobe Acrobat files. It might be best to open up Acrobat Reader first.
Note that the Kansas Legislative Research Department produces a version of its own, with the name “School District Financing Data by District,” which you can find on its education page. The KLRD report adds a graph that includes an adjustment for inflation. Look at this PDF file and select the appropriate district or state (for state totals).
This page contains a link to each of the state’s districts (USDs). For each USD, there is the Budget Profile, as well as the Budget at a Glance. So what’s the difference? We use the 2006-2007 reports from USD 259 (Wichita) to illustrate the differences.
The Budget Profile has a fair amount of narrative, while the Budget at a Glance is limited to tables and graphs.
The Budget at a Glance has the following spending summaries:
- Total expenditures by functions (instruction, administration, debt service, etc.)
- General and Supplemental General Fund spending by function. (Same as item #1, but limited to spending from those two funds.)
- A further breakout of “Instruction Expenditures” that come through all funds. (It’s a smaller segment of item #1, in other words.)
- Sources of Revenue and Proposed Budget … This table is an entirely different way of looking at information. The first three items on this list are concerned with function–what the district DOES. This table is concerned with the 30+ funds through which money comes into the district, including general, supplemental general, capital outlay, food service, and special education. The table also estimates, for some of those funds how much money will come through federal, state, or local sources.
- “Other Information” includes student enrollment and the number of low-income students.
- “Mill rates by fund” lists how many property tax mills are dedicated for the general, supplemental general, capital outlay, and other funds. For example, the total mill rate in the 2006-07 school year is 51.300. Of that, 20.000 is for the general fund, 18.293 is for the supplemental general fund, 7.000 is for the capital outlay fund.
- Page 7 includes two chart: one about changes in the assessed valuation of property in the district; another charts changes in district debt.
- Page 8 gives a very except of salaries for different kinds of staff.
- Page 9 points the reader to other sources of information.
True to form, the Budget at a Glance is a shorter publication. The 2006-07 edition for USD 259 (Wichita) is, for example, 11 pages, while the Budget Profile takes up 29 pages.
The Budget Profile, on the other hand, is more verbose and PR-oriented. It has the following:
- Introduction: This section has boilerplate information: square area, number of students, number of schools, days and times of board meetings, and some self-congratulatory language.
- Budget highlights: Recent changes in legislative funding, staffing, and other areas of spending.
- Names, addresses, and terms of board members; names of chief administrators.
- PR material: “The district’s accomplishments” in bullet point form; “The district’s challenges,” also in bullet points.
- Narratives that describe some of the budget-related graphs and charts
- A number of summary charts and graphs:
- Total spending (expenditures) for 3 years, summarized by functions such as instruction adn administration.
- Spending from the general fund, summarized by function
- Spending from supplemental general fund, summarized by function
- Spending from general and supplemental funds, combined and summarized by function
- Spending from the special education fund, summarized by function
- Spending on instruction, broken into the various funds such as special ed funds, federal funds, at-risk funds, and KPERS funds
- Spending on instructional support; spending on general administration; spending on school administration; spending on operations and maintenance; spending on capital improvements; spending on debt service; transfers between funds; the unencumbered cash balances of each fund;
- Two kinds of student enrollment: “FTE for budget authority” and “FTE used for calculating ‘Amount per Pupil.” (In case you’re wondering, the former excludes funding for “4-year old at risk” students. The latter does not.)
- A breakdown of how the various mills are used: 20 for general, 18.293 for supplemental general, and so forth.
- Assessed valuation in the district, and amount of indebtedness
So does the summary have anything that the profile does not? Yes, a few things, including the average salary of various positions.
If You Want More Information
School Finance Data Warehouse (KSDE)
A number of pre-selected reports on school finance can be found here.