Maryland's K12 Public School Compensation Transparency

Case studies of the dismal politics, policy, and practice of
K12 compensation transparency in Maryland

“[I]n American almanacs it is common to see the rate of pay annexed to the lists of public officers.”

–Michel Chevalier, Society, Manners and Politics in the United States, 1839

Published government employee compensation was common in America during the 19th Century (see the quote above) and can still be found in small New England towns. However, it has become exceedingly rare in the 21st Century. Thus, the disclosures below are notable in part for being notable.


Next Generation K12 Compensation Disclosure

Get Involved with the Disclosure Modernization Working Group–State and Local Government, XBRL US. Accessed September 19, 2018.

State & Local Government Disclosure Modernization Working Group, XBRL US. Accessed September 19, 2018.

Joffe, Marc, Making Government Documents Searchable and Machine-Readable to Improve Transparency and Accountability, Reason Foundation, August 2018.


Notable Current Generation K12 Compensation Disclosure Websites


Transparency California

100K Club

Note the benefit as well as salary individual level data.


State of Hawaii Transparency

Note that this government portal only provides a link to Honolulu Civil Beat‘s database of government employee salaries.

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

*Hawaii has the only statewide public school system in the U.S., so it makes gathering such data extraordinarily easy compared to other states.

New York

See Through New York

Note the statistics for salaries at the 5%, 25%, 50% (median), 75%, and 95% percentiles.


SEC Compensation Disclosure as a Model for K12 Compensation Disclosure

Lightner, Renee, and Theo Francis, How Much Do Top CEOs Make? Compensation for the chief executives of companies listed in the S&P 500 index, Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2017.

Note that if you click on a particular CEO, you can see his/her detailed compensation components.

ExecuComp Data Definitions By Table, Foxit Software Company, 2008.  Describes the data fields derived from the SEC compensation data.

Stoll, Ira, Biden Administration Sues a City Over “Rampant Overspending on Teacher Salaries”, Education Next, June 15, 2022. Accompanying SEC press release.

Federal Compensation Disclosure & Balanced Media Reporting as a Model for K12 Compensation Disclosure & Reporting

Note: the Washington Post coverage at least provides a glimpse of the inherently controversial and political nature of compensation statistics.

Edwards, Chris, Reforming Federal Worker Pay and Benefits, Cato, August 2, 2019.  See also: Rein, Lisa, Libertarians take aim at ‘elite island’ of federal employment, Washington Post, October 8, 2015.

 Yoder, Eric, Federal employee pay, benefits ahead of private sector on average, CBO concludes, Washington Post, April 25, 2017.

Yoder, Eric, Federal employee salaries lag private sector by 27 percent on average, report says, Washington Post, November 6, 2019.


The DATA Act as a Model for Accessible Governmentwide Budget Data Disclosure Down to the Individual Transaction Level

Data Coalition summary of the DATA Act

Sunlight Foundation summary of the DATA Act

DATA Act 2022: Changing Technology, Changing Culture, Data Foundation, May 2017.


A Private Website with High Quality Visualizations of Government Data

USA Facts


The U.S. Department of Labor Requires Pay Equity Data for Federal Contractors

MacMillan, Douglas, and Jack Nicas, Google Told to Hand Over a Narrower Set of Pay Data, Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2017.


Analogies of Misleading Financial Measures Once Viewed as Trustworthy

Enrich, David, Libor: A Eulogy for the World’s Most Important Number, Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2017.


Federal Legislation to Make Pension Data (but only for federal employees) Public

H.R.3200 – Taxpayer-Funded Pension Disclosure Act, introduced in the 115th Congress (2017-2018).  See also U.S. Rep. DeSantis, Ron, and Adam Andrzejewski, Make federal pensions transparent, Washington Examiner, July 27, 2017.


Model Federal, State and City Laws for Creating Government Data Portals


New York City’s Open Data Law, passed February 29, 2012

New York City’s Open Data Portal (“Open NY”)

Other City Data Portals:

Analyze Boston
Chicago Data Portal.


New York State’s Open Data Law, passed March 11, 2013

New York State’s Open Data Portal

Other State Data Portals:

California: CHHS Open Data (covering Health and Human Services agencies)


Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, Executive Office of the President, December 8, 2009

Executive Order Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information, President Barack Obama, May 9, 2013.

The Federal Government’s Open Data Portals: and



Wiens, Richard, We May Finally Get To See Honolulu Police Salary Information, Civil Beat, October 12, 2018.