One of the first things users of the payroll transparency site might notice is that the school department had a very substantial dip in pay for 2013.
According to Doug Fiore, the director of finance and administration for the district, the reason is the timing of payments and the fact that the payroll data on this site is for the fiscal year, not the calendar year. Whereas most people think of their pay in terms of the tax year, January to December, the town and the state operate more in line with the school year and legislative sessions. The fiscal year runs from July 1 of one year to June 30 of the next year.
Specifically, on July 1, 2011, teachers received a regular “balloon” payment for the summer of 2011 that should have been attributed to the 2011 fiscal year (which Tiverton Fact Check does not have), which was technically the start of the 2012 fiscal year. The next summer, they received the payment on June 28, 2012, which was still part of the 2012 fiscal year.
In other words, the data and charts show fiscal year 2012 as being larger than it should be in comparison with other fiscal years.
Update (9/8/14 3:00 p.m.):
According to Fiore, the amount of the payment made in fiscal year 2012 that was attributable to fiscal year 2011 was $1,876,687. That means fiscal year 2013 would actually have been $62,285 higher than 2012 if not for the stray pay period.
Although such misalignments will happen from time to time, given the different uses of fiscal and calendar years, Fiore says that neither fiscal 2013 nor fiscal 2014 was affected.