Financial Information (Per Pupil)
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What you are looking at
The In$ite financial reporting system breaks down all school-level expenditures into the four major categories indicated in bold in the key at the lower left-hand of this field. The first bar graph shows the allocation of all school expenditures that include every school program such as Special Education and Vocational Education. The bar graph just below shows the state average for that school’s level, elementary, middle or high. The state average is not a recommended standard or ideal, but merely an anchor for the purposes of comparison. The table at the lower right shows the per pupil expenditure in each program, but please note that the per pupil is not a simple head-count, but a count according to full-time equivalent or FTE. (See further explanation below.)
What you are looking for
You are looking to get a sense of how your school allocates its resources. Expenditures might reflect the especially high or low challenges of the children in the building or educational decisions that require a different-than-average investment, such as a full-time social worker for Instructional Support.
In$ite’s second year
All 36 school districts in Rhode Island use their own accounting systems and will probably continue to do so. However, differing systems made specific district-to-district or school-to-school comparisons impossible, obscuring any clear understanding of the state’s education finances as a whole. In$ite does not replace an accounting system, but is designed to be a reporting tool that aids fiscal management. As a relational database, In$ite brings state-of-the-art managerial accounting capabilities to the education field, replacing the old-style regulatory accounting whose purpose was to reassure funding agencies and the public that funds were being spent legally and appropriately. While In$ite can tailor reports to speak to compliance issues, its real power is as a management aid that provides decision-makers with relevant, timely and user-friend information that can illuminate how schools might become more efficient and productive.
Common agreements among all business
For three years, the business managers in each of Rhode Island’s school districts worked with RIDE and In$ite to convert all school and district expenditures into a common language determined largely by In$ite, but tailored for Rhode Island’s specific needs. In the first step, business managers input the information about the district and its expenditures from the district’s accounting system into the In$ite structure.
In the second phase, called “mapping,” business managers cross-walked their categories and numbers with the specific In$ite categories in a lengthy process of hammering out detailed common agreements about definitions for where each dollar is posted. In the end, these managers created and continue to refine a common “map” which guides the placement of every dollar. For each accounting cell, however small, the state has agreement as to where each cost is allocated.
The third phase involved allocating district or “central office” expenditures out to the schools, when appropriate. Certain costs which are paid at the district level, including employee benefits, food service, transportation and others, are then allocated to schools, as appropriate, to give a picture of the true cost of running that school.
In the last step of the process, managers and RIDE began using the In$ite system reports to generate some district comparisons for review. Not surprisingly, whenever the districts compared final numbers, oddities in the results would raise questions about the input, mapping and allocation processes or the educational decisions of particular districts. Over time, the oddities decreased and confidence in the accuracy of the data rose.
Warning! Be wary of misunderstanding numbers out of context
Please do not jump to any conclusions before you have spoken to the appropriate district financial managers. Often district decisions or variables easily explain numbers which initially seem excessively high or low.
Per pupil expenditures
All expenditure dollars on the school and district charts are expressed as a per pupil figure. These per pupil expenditures are based on the Average Daily Membership (ADM) of students and then their full-time equivalent (FTE) in their respective programs. Per pupil is not a simple head-count, but a count by FTE. A child enrolled for an entire school year in a full-day program equals one FTE. A half-day kindergarten student enrolled for a full year equals ½ or .5 FTE. If a student was not enrolled for the full year, his or her FTE would decrease by the time not enrolled. Thus, the half-day kindergarten student enrolled for only half a year equals 1/4 or .25 FTE.
Each student’s FTE is then divided by the educational programs provided to that student. A child’s participation in Special Education Resource or English as a Second Language is counted only as a percentage of that child’s day. In a six-period day, a child who spends one period in the program will count as one sixth. Six such periods account for the per pupil expenditure, or the full-time equivalent (FTE).
In$ite category structure and definitions
or download a chart of the In$ite Functions in PDF (7KB)
(translated from instructional teachers)
Includes: Salaries and related employment costs for teachers who interact with pupils face-to-face; classroom, hospital and homebound teachers; cost of third-party instructional services for district students (e.g., advanced college courses or specialized classes provided by another district); the cost of travel for hospital, homebound and itinerant teachers; only the teaching portion of an expenditure for department chairpersons who also teach; driver education teachers if taught during normal school hours, offered without a fee and restricted to students (otherwise code to Extracurricular); music instruction (e.g., band) that is taught during the day as part of the curriculum, and tutoring (e.g., SAT, ESL); school-to-career staff, if doing face-to-face teaching
Excludes: Nurse teachers even if face-to-face teaching occurs; school to career staff involved in placement (code to Guidance and Counseling); teachers working with classroom teachers (code to Staff Development).
Includes: Teachers substituting for other teachers unless the reason is staff development (code to
Excludes: Teachers substituting because of staff development; substitutes not in the classroom (e.g., Library, Cafeteria Monitor) (Code as appropriate).
Includes: Paraprofessionals who spend the majority of their time in the classroom or with the teacher
Excludes: One-on-one paraprofessionals whose primary responsibility is that of physical attendants (code to
Therapists); non-instructional paraprofessionals, aides and graders (code to
In-Service, Staff Development and Support)
Pupil-use technology and software
Includes: Technology and software that pupils use; salaries and related employment costs of staff who are dedicated to support technology instruction, pupil-use network management, or computer lab support personnel; expenditures for dedicated telephone lines, maintenance and repair, and service contracts; purchases and/or lease payments for pupil-use computer equipment;
Excludes: Technology instruction (code to
Face-to-face Teaching); technology instruction of professional and support staff (code appropriately); technology and software for purposes other than pupil-use (code appropriately); printer, paper, ribbons, diskettes, etc. (code to
Includes: The cost of instructional materials and supplies; staff dedicated to managing the selection of those materials and supplies including textbooks, paper, lab materials, test forms, workbooks, chalk, markers, maps and charts; all classroom instructional equipment other than pupil-use computer equipment; tests; field trips that are instruction related; equipment used for presentations by master teachers; televisions dedicated to the classroom; equipment used for distance learning instruction; salaries and employment costs of staff that manage classroom materials.
Excludes: Test-related research and development and the personnel involved in that process (code to
Curriculum Development); non-instructional trips (e.g., band, glee club) (Code to
Extracurricular); projectors, video players, video-conferencing equipment, TVs mounted in classroom (code to
Library and Media)
Special to the district report
or download chart in PDF (15 KB)
What you are looking at
The pie chart on the upper left represents the per pupil expenditure at its most inclusive. Total expenditures were divided by the number of pupils to arrive at a gross or unadjusted per pupil expenditure. The pie chart on the right removes the “Other Commitments” category, which includes such expenditures as debt service on new facilities or large repairs and other sorts of costs that vary a great deal between districts because of peculiarities of circumstance. The pie chart on the right are those expenses which are comparable district to district, just as they are from school to school (instruction, instructional support, operations, and leadership). The subsequent graphs are details of some of the individual categories represented in the large pies at the top.
What you are looking for
You are looking to get a sense of how your district allocates its resources. Expenditures might reflect the especially high or low challenges of the children in the district or educational decisions that require a higher-than-average investment. District expenditures should not necessarily be the same. District leaders make many policy and educational program decisions in the best interests of their particular student body and with the resources available to them. In$ite allows us to examine the investments associated with those decisions and policies.
Sources of revenue
This pie chart shows a break-out of where the overwhelming majority of the money for this district’s schools comes from. The state contribution, known as state aid, is calculated by a formula which was signed into law as Article 31, the education portion of the State’s Budget for fiscal year 1998-2000. The local revenue is the support raised by the city or town through property taxes.
Federal support might be money from the Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA) and individual grants. Working Wonders grants, for example, are competitively awarded by the State Department of Education, but the grants are funded by federal Goals 2000 money. Some districts may have additional monies from corporations or foundations (e.g., RI Foundation, Champlin grants). This pie chart may not completely account for these monies.