In July 2017, Afton was awarded a two-year contract with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to act as the “Site Level Facilitator” as part of the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) Fiscal Equity and Return on Investment (ROI) project.  

Afton is working with ISBE and a designated Advisory Group to enable school site-based expenditure reporting throughout the state.  Afton is leading school-level accounting system development, guidelines, and training in alignment with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the state’s goals with the Fiscal Equity and Return on Investment (ROI). (Read ISBE’s Financial Reporting Requirements Letter here.)  

The Illinois State Board of Education is funding this project with a grant from the United States Department of Education. This grant allows for a series of related efforts to enable districts, schools, educators, state policymakers, and the community to access information more quickly and easily to support and improve state and local resource allocations, instruction, and student outcomes. This effort will build from existing investments, and these projects will accelerate Illinois’ movement from a compliance model of data management to a service model focused on utilization of data for state and local education system improvements.

Currently in Illinois, public education finances are reported at the local education agency (LEA) / school district level.  With the implementation of ESSA, school-level expense reporting will be required. Afton’s work will define the guardrails for reporting that will need to be implemented to ensure financial information can be reported at a school level.  Additionally, the Afton team will assist with reporting design and training across the state as this new level of financial reporting is implemented.

“Afton Partners is uniquely positioned to facilitate this initiative because of our deep experience conducting school-level financial analyses with school districts throughout Illinois and across the country” said Carrie Stewart, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Afton Partners. “This work will have a lasting impact on public education in Illinois, making school-level financial data more accessible and encouraging locally-driven analysis of student outcomes in conjunction with resource allocation.”