SC Education Funding Dashboard launches providing more taxpayer funds transparency
South Carolina Education Association said the funding dashboard gives parents and teachers “no excuse” not to get involved in improvements in their district.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office launched the South Carolina Education Funding Dashboard making it easier for education stakeholders to compare data between districts.
“I think we’ve been hearing for years--Community members, people, parents, teachers, [asking] like: ‘Where’s our money going?’” S.C. Education Association President Sherry East explained.
As a teacher for 27 years, she knows that change often comes from understanding the budgets.
“For years, the budgets of districts have to be reported. I mean, they’re on the website, but it’s not a very user-friendly thing. When you’re looking at million-dollar budgets. You know, you it’s really not a very easy thing to digest,” East said. “And some of this data has also been reported in the school report cards, but again, takes a lot of effort to get through the school report card.”
S.C.’s Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office launched an Education Funding Dashboard at the end of October making comparing that data much more user-friendly. East said this gives parents and teachers “no excuse” but to get involved and ask questions about the story behind the data.
“Let’s see, ‘What would my class size be? What would my funding be? What would my teacher pay be?’ All of that is right there on that dashboard,” she said. “So it’s a beautiful thing. It’s a beautiful thing for an educator or a person that’s trying to move into our area to look around and see.”
East said the data should make stakeholders ask more questions and put pressure on their leaders to hold their districts accountable.
“We as a society really need to do better and getting involved with our school boards. And kind of, you know, there’s these watchdog groups out there–is to look over your money,” East said. “[But,] it’s your money, how are they spending it? It’s right here in front of you. There’s no excuse now not to be involved because it’s a very easy thing to look at and make your voice heard.”
She said she hopes every S.C. education stakeholder will take advantage of the transparency that the state provided through the dashboard.
“Take a look at this new dashboard that’s out there and really take a deep dive into a spend an hour or two, looking up all the numbers for your district and your surrounding districts. And then if you don’t like what you see or you do like what you see, then you need to reach out to those local school boards.” East said, “We talk a lot here and we don’t ever see the results of that. So finally we are seeing the fruits of the labor in this funding or transparency.”
The North Carolina Department of Education provides the same kinds of data but it is not as easy to compare districts.
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