Driven by Data

A Deep Dive into Direct Student Expenses

Every year, our schools ask us questions like, “How are other schools spending their student recruitment dollars?,” and “How much are other schools spending on student transportation?” While school leaders know what they have spent in the past and plan to spend in the future, they often don’t have helpful information about their peers.

Through our support of numerous charters, however, EdOps does. As an outgrowth of our training and workshop series, EdOps Labs, we have developed a series of webinars that dive into many key direct student expense categories. These webinars provide financial benchmarking data, simple tools to help leaders evaluate their spending decisions, and a framework to help guide them to the best strategic decision for their schools – all while using data they otherwise would not have access to.

While the benchmarking data used is DC-specific, these webinars share tools and frameworks in their introductory sections that will be helpful to school leaders across the country. With this webinar series, we hope school leaders are better able to evaluate student expense decisions. 


If you want to jump right in, start watching the webinars here:

Beyond this benchmarking data, school leaders should still consider other factors to make the best financial spending and operations decisions for their school spending decisions. Check out our short blog post on drivers of strategic financial decisions here for more on that topic. 

Other student expense-related webinars will be included over the coming weeks.


A note on the data. At EdOps, we highly value two principles. The first is data-informed decision making – we want to ensure school leaders have the information they need to make sound financial and operational decisions. The second is data privacy. We vigilantly protect the data of individual schools. To balance these values, we’ve conducted a sector-wide analysis that brings meaningful insights while protecting our schools’ data privacy. 

We aggregated and anonymized SY17-18 data from all EdOps schools in Washington, DC (our clients in this jurisdiction represent a significant portion of DC’s charter school sector). We took additional precautions to remove data points in charts and graphs whenever they could be used to identify an individual school, while ensuring that the chart or graph still accurately conveys the overall story. As a result, in this webinar series, we provide insightful financial benchmarking information while protecting individual school data.

[This post contributed by Shelley Hughes, Finance Team Director and Michael Watts, Senior Finance Specialist.]