EDmin's Rick Wells, a CPA and expert on the Uniform Chart of Accounts (UCOA), recently shared his expertise on the benefits of the Rhode Island Department of Education UCOA. He appeared on a panel at the annual meeting of the Association of School Business Officials in Boston with school officials from Rhode Island. Wells explained how the UCOA works to link finance to student achievement.

The UCOA data is used by the Rhode Island Department of Education to inform investment decisions for the $2.3 billion the state invests in elementary and secondary public education. The UCOA Accounting Manual serves as an engine to transform accounting, Wells explained, a workbook provides daily reference tools and a work group pilots the effort. The result is the ability to link finances with other data sets.

Now all public and charter schools use the same methods for tracking revenue and expenses, enabling apples-to-apples comparison between districts. Wells, who has worked with Rhode Island's school officials on the groundbreaking effort for more than eight years, said the UCOA is empowering school leaders to see which decisions positively influence school performance.