The Florida Department of Education (FDE) has released its annual “report card” assessment of the state’s 3,600 public schools in academic performance and spending.
But this year’s “report card” includes a new component. Instead of breaking down spending by district, the 2018-19 version also includes a school-by-school breakdown of per-pupil expenditures.
The school-by-school per-pupil spending breakout is a transparency provision in the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that went into effect this year nationwide.
The new per-student expenditure tab within the 2018-19 FDE school year “report card,” based on 2017-18 school finance data, is certain to provide a literal treasure trove of data for taxpayers and state lawmakers in determining where and how education dollars are being spent across Florida.
To access the per-pupil expenditures from the FDE’s EduData Portal main page, click on School Report Cards and a ’School Report Card Selector’ tab will appear.
The table allows users to search school-by-school student spending by district or simply by individual school.
In selecting two random elementary schools in Polk County – a central Florida county school district with more than 150 schools and serving more than 100,000 students – as comparative examples, variations in school-to-school per-pupil spending are readily apparent.
The report card for Alta Vista Elementary School in Haines City shows it has 751 pre-K through fifth-grade students and 44 teachers.
The school, in an agricultural area, rates 100 percent of its students as “economically disadvantaged” with 71 percent of its enrollment Hispanic, 16.5 percent African American and 10.3 percent white.
More than 42 percent are defined as “English Language Learners,” likely a significant contributor to its "D" grade with 35 percent of its students meeting grade-level “learning gains” in English language arts, mathematics and science.
The page offers breakdowns in individual tabs in:
Assessments - Academic Achievement, Growth, and Participation
Assessments - English Language Learners
Discipline and Attendance
Graduation and Beyond
Educator Qualifications and Equity
Long-Term Goals and Interim Progress
Accelerated Course Enrollment