Access to and use of accurate fiscal data is critical for program planning, budget development and management, and reporting. Fiscal data include child and family demographics, service delivery, local program administration and lead agency administration costs by revenue source. Analyzed together, these data provide a clear picture of system costs, revenue, and projected need. The resources listed below help to inform state system staff in making decisions about which resources to pursue (procurement), and how they should be allocated, used, and disbursed.
DaSy Critical Questions: Local Early Intervention Services (EIS) Program- and Local Education Agencies (LEA)-Level Questions (2015)
The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy) compiled critical questions that a quality state data system for early intervention (EI) or early childhood special education (ECSE) should provide the data to answer. Critical questions specific to funding and expenditures (see: Section 3.C.) include:
- What is the cost of providing EI/ECSE services to children and families?
- Does the state have sufficient revenue to provide quality IDEA services?
- How can the state maximize efficiency in the operation of the EI/ECSE program (e.g., by changing practices and reallocating resources) and maintain or improve outcomes?
System Framework for Building High-Quality Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education Programs
The Data System component of the System Framework includes the sub-component, System Design and Development, that specifies the data elements specific to fiscal [SD4(3)j]. They include the total funds budgeted and expended by fund source.
The Finance Component of the System Framework includes a sub-component on Fiscal Data. It illustrates the importance of state and regional and/or local system entities having access to and making use of fiscal data for program planning, budget development, management and required reporting.
Part C Fiscal Data Products from the DaSy Center
Using fiscal data, especially with child and family demographic data and services data, can help state Part C staff and stakeholders better understand the dynamics that influence its program and financing. The DaSy Center, in collaboration with ECTA, developed these fiscal data products.
Fiscal Data Profile Template (2018)
Designed for Part C systems, the Fiscal Data Profile depicts demographic, service delivery, infrastructure, and administrative data in various ways that make them more comprehensible to users. The accompanying Template Excel tool converts raw program-level fiscal data into graphical displays (i.e., profiles) and analytical statements. This engaging and informative information can then be used to facilitate budget development and management, conduct general supervision and garner political will.
This document provides state Part C staff guidance on using fiscal data to analyze and revise their allocation methodology. Allocation methodology is the process — including practices, strategies, procedures, and policies — used by Part C state staff to equitably distribute funds to meet the needs of the system, including the children and families served.
Regarding the use of data for appropriate fiscal management of Part C, this document is designed to increase the knowledge and skills of lead agency staff. It also addresses budget development and management.
This document provides an overview of the critical role of fiscal data in state Part C systems. This information is intended to help state Part C lead agency staff better understand strategic fiscal policy questions, the fiscal data elements needed to address those questions, and the benefits of using these data.