By Guy Page
More than 1,000 Vermont Agency of Education funding grants contain no performance measurements, a Nov. 30 state report to the Government Accountability Committee concludes.
Of the 1556 grants received by the Agency of Education, 1114 grants — 68.9 percent of the total number — lack performance measurements, the Nov. 30 spreadsheet report by Susan Zeller said. Ms. Zeller is Chief Performance Officer of the Vermont Agency of Administration.
The Agency of Education took “first place” in the grant performance non-measurement category. Second place went to the Vermont Department of Libraries, with 199; and third, the Dept. of Environmental Conservation, with 110. Also, none of the 47 Buildings & Grounds capital projects grants have performance measurements; and of 45 Fish & Wildlife Dept. grants, 43 have no performance measurements. Throughout state government, a total of 1617 – roughly a third of the total number – grants are not measured for performance.
No reasons or remedies for the low measurement numbers are mentioned in the report, but presumably the Agency of Administration and the legislative committees with oversight over these agencies and departments may pursue explanations and solutions during the 2019 Legislature. At its Wednesday, Dec. 19 meeting, the committee is scheduled to discuss educating the General Assembly on the Results-Based Accountability system of administration and oversight.
The Government Accountability Committee is a joint Senate/House committee that, among other tasks, issues an annual report on the performance and outcomes of state government. Its members include: Sen. Brian Collamore, Co-Chair. Rep. Maida Townsend, Co-Chair. Sen. Jeanette K. White. Sen. Dick McCormack. Sen. Carolyn Whitney Branagan. Rep. Scott Beck. Rep. Jessica Brumsted Rep. Robin Scheu.
On Oct. 30, the committee learned that fewer state grants and contracts contained performance requirements in 2018 than in 2017 – a troubling development that apparently led to the “deeper dive” November 30 report. The information shared Oct. 30 was part of a “snapshot” of the annual “outcomes report” required by Act 186, passed in 2014. The report offers a brief, fascinating details on whether life is getting better or worse for Vermonters in several major areas of life: income, employment, environment, health, public safety, etc.
Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.