NEW K-12 FUNDING WEBPAGE A GREAT RESOURCE FOR PARENTS, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS
In a move to promote transparency, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster recently announced the launch of a brand-new Education Funding Dashboard. The tool is designed to let parents and taxpayers quickly see how local school districts are spending taxpayer money. It also lets school board members easily compare their spending and performance with other districts.
The S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, which hosts the dashboard, says that readers can “analyze and compare revenues, expenditures, academic achievement, and other data by district.” It notes that more information and features will be added as new data becomes available.
A quick glance at the dashboard reveals plenty of valuable information. On the funding side, it shows that spending per student totaled $16,171 on average for districts during FY2021-22. Around 47% of that went to instruction, the largest spending category, while 19% paid for operations, the second-largest bucket. The remaining 34% collectively covered instructional support, leadership and “other” spending.
Under the “Quick Facts” tab, readers can find district information on teacher pay, student-teacher ratios, per-student spending, and student poverty levels. It also shows the state average for each area, making it easy to see how districts compare to South Carolina as a whole.
Some information, particularly when it comes to student performance, shows that a bigger focus is needed on academic achievement. Just 48% of all South Carolina students meet or exceed expectations in English and language arts, while 40% meet or exceed expectations in math, according to the dashboard. That’s only 44% across both subjects.
“This is about transparency, and I have said for a long time that the way that we build trust in public education is through transparency,” said S.C. Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver in the governor’s press release.
The dashboard is a great tool for parents, teachers, school board members, and anyone who wants to know more about education in South Carolina. A job well done to everyone involved!