A New Report Gives Alaska an F for Transparency in Education Spending

Sep 9, 2013

A new report from the Cato Institute gives the state of Alaska a failing grade for how well it shows where education funding is actually spent. The new report is called “Cracking the Books: How well do state education departments reports public school spending.”

The report was put together by the Cato Institute, which is a Washington D.C. think tank founded back in 1977. The institute claims the public vastly underestimates the true cost of public education and that few states provide complete and timely financial data that is understandable to the general public. Alaska was one of 18 states that received an “F” grade in the new report and Alaska had the lowest total score at 26.75. Hawaii was next lowest at 28.25. Only 1 state received an “A”. New Mexico had a score of 93. South Dakota received an A minus grade with a score of 92.5.

The Cato Institute suggests that half of the 50-states report “per pupil expenditures” and they claim that leaves out major costs, thereby understating what is actually spent on education. The Institute asserts that Alaska does not even report per pupil expenditure figures at all. The new report shows that 8-states don’t provide any data on capital spending on their education department websites and that 10-states don’t report any data on average employee salaries. The overall grades and scores in the new report are based on the scores given states in 4 categories: per pupil expenditures, total expenditure data, average salary data, and public accessibility. You can take a look at the new report on the Cato Institute’s website at www.cato.org.