Despite improved fiscal accounting systems, many district leaders continue to struggle with how to report and use fiscal data for the purpose of strategic resource decisions. This paper proposes the creation and use of school spending profiles as a way to communicate more complete and comparable school spending information. The proposed school spending profile provides not only a complete picture of school expenditures reflecting real costs, but it also indicates spending relative to each school's mix of student needs. Data from Denver Public Schools (DPS) illustrate how profiles can provide dashboard indicators useful for district leadership. Key assumptions and implications are considered.
Public Budgeting & Finance 27 (1), Spring 2007, 69-85.