We are inspired by the session we hosted for Chiefs for Change this December, which brought together superintendents, chief financial officers, budget officers, and state-level finance and strategy specialists from Brevard and Palm Beach Counties, Indianapolis, Providence, Boston, and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Leadership teams from these five districts rolled up their sleeves and dug into data from their own districts to explore how ESSA’s financial transparency requirements could drive real equity for their students.
How can states and districts know if their accounting systems are ready to report per-pupil spending accurately?
What drives variation in school funding, and how can districts report spending data in a way that clarifies the differences?
What other metrics should be reported to inform decisions about equity, strategy, and productivity?
To jump-start the discussion, ERS provided initial financial analysis for each district. We built these analyses on our decade of experience working with financial data to answer strategic questions. Leaders reported that the resulting sessions were informative and productive. “You’ve told me more about myself than I ever knew,” said one leader referring to the depth of analysis.
ERS Partner and session facilitator Jonathan Travers summed up the day with appreciation for the extraordinary effort and commitment from the leaders present and emphasizing that the work is hard. “It’s not simple,” he said, “but we have an obligation to broaden the knowledge of our constituents and promote real equity in our schools.”
Thanks so much to the leaders and Chiefs for Change for such a great afternoon. We will be developing tools for all districts to provide guidance on ESSA reporting to be released soon. Please be sure to subscribe to our newsletter if you would like to receive notice when they are complete.