Ed-Data, an Internet site that provides a wealth of accessible education information, has updated financial data on districts, schools and county offices of education.
The new information provides a breakdown by spending categories and enables comparisons with other districts. The site also offers per-student spending information and data by revenue sources as well as explanations of recent policy changes, including the Local Control Funding Formula.
The updated information is for 2012-13, the last year that the state funded schools under the old system, which was based on revenue limits for general spending and dozens of categorical funds for restricted purposes. This year, the state switched to the Local Control Funding Formula, starting the move toward uniform level funding for all districts with extra dollars based on districts’ enrollment of low-income students, English learners and foster youth. Many of the accounts for categorical funds will disappear, since districts now have more flexibility in determining how to spend money.
Nonetheless, the 2012-13 financial data is important, for it provided the base revenue levels used to determine how much each district is entitled to receive in the transition to full funding under the new formula.
The comparison tool is particularly powerful, letting the user determine which districts and what factors to choose. For example, you can compare Oakland, Sacramento City, San Juan and Garden Grove – four districts with similar enrollments – in terms of how much revenue they receive per student and how much of that goes toward teacher salaries and benefits, other pupil services, and books and supplies. There are many other permutations.
Ed-Data is a partnership among the state Department of Education, the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, which is a state agency, and EdSource.