State Auditor Nicole Galloway

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.- Today, Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway released an audit of the financial data reported by K-12 schools to the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The audit included a review of the data and recommendations to ensure it can be used effectively by schools as they work to improve educational opportunities in their communities.

Every year Missouri’s K-12 schools report financial information to the DESE. In the audit specific topics were reviewed including administration costs which fall under the expenses of the principals’ and superintendents’ offices and administrative support staff and school board. To report the data schools classify the exact use of funds as a specific category such as fiscal services, executive administration and building level administration.

Following review, inconsistencies were found in the way spending is recorded across school districts. On many occasions, school districts categorized similar costs to different categories. The report suggested that DESE provide additional information to school districts to ensure financial information is properly and consistently recorded.

Disparities were also identified in superintendent salaries at school districts of similar size and location. The type of comparative analysis was found to be not readily available to school districts and recommended that DESE provide reports that would be beneficial to schools as they make budget and salary reductions.

Data in the report also revealed that over a 12-year period, superintendent salaries increased by 31 percent while teacher salaries increased by only 22 percent. Information provided to DESE about administrator compensation may not be complete or accurate. The report recommends improving the process to report that data.

The compete report is available here.