How Does YOUR School District Compare?
Studies using Ohio Department of Education Data to Compare Ohio School Districts 

Ohio School District historical expenditure and performance comparisons

3/19/2015 ... HB 64 (Funding) Testimony

I provided testimony at this hearing ... Thank you to Chairman Cupp and the Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee for the opportunity.  
Click the chart below to download a .pdf of the presentation.  
If you have any questions, holler.  Thanks!


2/7/15 ...Expenditure data for the 2014 report cards are up (


ODE is now using an "Expenditures per Equivalent Pupil" in reporting the numbers, where a district's ADM is adjusted for its poverty level, special ed, and/or English language learner populations.  For example, a district with a relatively high % Disability and % Economically Disadvantaged will have a higher "Equivalent Pupil" count, so its "Expenditures per Pupil" will appear to be lower ... in some cases as much as 25%.

Just why this new method is being used is confusing, as there is no compelling research which relates student performance to the amount of money which is spent on a per pupil basis.  Here is a graph of 2013 ODE data showing the Performance Index as a function of EPP.  You can also see a similar graph on any of the district's report cards on the ODE site.

Furthermore, there is no correlation between Expenditures per Pupil and either %Disability or %Economically Disadvantaged, even using the weighted "Expenditures per Equivalent Pupil" method ...

The net result is that if you're trying to compare the new 2014 EPEP with either the Cupp Report figure for EPP or the EPP for prior years, this will be comparing apples to oranges.

Anyways, it should take me roughly two months to incorporate these new data into district reports. We will be using the older "EPP" figure for all years to make sure that the longitudinal data are indeed compatible.     

I will try to have everything updated -- plus value-added charts -- by the middle/end of April.  If you'd like to be notified when they're up, just send me an email at and I'll let you know when they're up.  In the interim, if you have any questions, just email me and I'll get back to you.


2014 Expenditure and Performance Comparison Study

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Accountability and Stewardship

School district boards, administrators, and staff are accountable to students, parents, and taxpayers for providing a quality education while practicing good stewardship of taxpayer funds.  Both have been a challenge.  Near- and long-term anticipated budget deficits have resulted in districts asking for additional funding from resident-taxpayers and/or implementing cost reduction measures subject to the restrictions imposed by bargaining contracts.

With household finances being tight as a result of a lackluster economy (during the 2001-2011 timeframe, average resident income rose 23%, not even keeping pace with inflation at 24%), taxpayers have been reluctant to contribute more to schools, whose expenditures have risen over 40% during that period.

Has student performance improved commensurately?  

While state-mandated test results lead us to believe that schools have improved in their ability to provide a quality education, the Ohio average percentile on the nationally-normed ACT test has increased by 3 points in the last 17 years, and the graduation rate has increased 6 percentage points.

These data are confirmed in the report, "State Education Trends," researched and released in March of 2014 by The CATO Institute. This study reports SAT scores and per pupil spending trends for each state.  Ohio's data are provided here.

The "2014 Ohio Districts Performance and Expenditure" series of reports presented here provides a historical view of school district expenditures and student performance.  They provide "pictures" of the extent to which each district has contained costs and/or has been able to justify expenditure increases by achieving commensurate performance improvements

Some districts have performed well.  Others show room for improvement.  These reports can serve as the starting point for conversation among board members, administrators, teachers, parents, and taxpayers for addressing district finance while maximizing student outcomes.

This 2014 study is a follow-up to our "2011 District Productivity Index Study," and the "2013 Teacher Salary/Resident Income Study," and incorporates the latest data (as of 3/20/14) from the Ohio Departments of Education and Taxation.

How has YOUR district performed?

Reports for all districts are found under the "2014 District Reports" tab, here.

Which are the Top-Ranked Districts?

You can read the report and see where your district ranks state-wide here.

Next Steps ...  

Now that we've got all of these data (10 years of expenditure and performance data for 600+ districts), what can we do with it?

Here are just a few quick graphs ...

Please feel free to contact us at with any questions or comments you may have.