June 30, 2017
New website presents easy-to-understand school and district financial information
Spending, revenue of schools, districts featured in new financial transparency web portal
DENVER – A website that presents school and district financial information in an easy-to-understand format was launched today, providing citizens a way to track the funding and spending for education and compare finances of schools and districts from throughout the state.
The Financial Transparency for Colorado Schools Website was created in response to legislation and includes financial information from every district, BOCES and most schools in Colorado.
“This website illustrates in a clear and understandable manner how school districts use their limited resources to educate our students,” said Katy Anthes, Colorado’s education commissioner.
The website comes out of legislation from 2010 and 2014 that sought to provide the public a deeper understanding of how education dollars are spent in schools, districts and BOCES. In 2010, House Bill 1036 required districts post financial information online, including budgets, financial audits, check registers and credit card statements. In 2014, the legislature enhanced that legislation with House Bill 1292 that required each district and schools to post financial data so it can be displayed in an easy-to-understand way.
The legislation required CDE to seek a vendor to build the website and manage the transfer of data between districts and the site. BrightBytes®, a San Francisco education analytics firm, was selected in 2015 to build the website.
Throughout 2016, CDE and BrightBytes® worked closely with the Financial Policies & Procedures sub-committee and a dozen Colorado districts to design, build and test the public site during a pilot program. In 2017, every district and BOCES in Colorado provided their own data to populate the site. Districts identified as small/rural with fewer than 1,000 K-12 students and that had no charter schools were required to post district-level financial information only.
The data is presented in two domains, spending and funding:
- The spending domain shows investments classified by three key categories: learning, operations and construction - making it easy to understand how dollars are being allocated.
- The funding domains enable visitors to see funding by local, state and federal sources.
Visitors to the site can compare information at the school, district, charter operator or BOCES level through a side-by-side view of up to four schools or education organizations at a time.
The Financial Transparency for Colorado Schools Website, which is available today at https://coloradok12financialtransparency.com/#/, will be updated on an annual basis.
Dashboard example from financial transparency module: