The Utah State Auditor’s office has released a comprehensive overview of Utah’s public education system, including expenditures, per-pupil spending, and performance.

The report, called Project KIDS, were made available in January of this year, and categorizes education spending from local education agencies (LEA). According to the Auditor’s Office, Project KIDS aims to empower public education stakeholders to more closely align financial resources with their strategic goals, using interactive visualizations tailored to support data-driven decision making.  

Project KIDS makes sense of education spending by categorizing all LEA expense transactions into unique spending categories, such as AP coursework or English language learning. The funds in these approximately 200 spending categories are then distributed across the students who participate in the related programs or classes.

These newly created dashboards that use a bottom-up approach for examining education spending. This way, resources can be directed specifically to a student’s unique situation. Thus, the individual student resource profiles are utilized to build up spending averages for each classroom, school, and LEA. Instead of reporting a simple average of per-student spending, this approach allows Project KIDS to generate a student spending distribution at each level of education.

In addition, Project KIDS looks at LEA payroll to allow decision makers to allocate teacher salaries across the students they teach.The data can be drilled down to individual schools, including comparing schools to each other. There’s a lot of data to uncover here, so visit the Auditor’s website if you want to learn more about how your school compares.