Trends in the News

Local Education Funding

All Posts

Education Week, 4/3/18

Making school spending data transparent and accessible is no easy lift

While most people understand K-12 education spending in terms of average district per-pupil amounts, how districts distribute federal, state and local dollars between schools has long been a mystery even to district superintendents. But many have theorized that seeing distribution levels by school can reveal to the public how (or whether) money boosts academic results and whether money is being spent as intended.

Gainsville Times, 4/18/18

Georgia: Bus funding remains a challenge for schools even with more state money

A recent report from the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute outlined safety concerns related to aging school bus fleets. “Shrinking state funding for student transportation and rising costs are making it more difficult for school districts across Georgia to get children to and from school safely,” the report states. “The worsening financial pinch leaves districts with aging bus fleets on the road past their intended life, concerns about student safety and far fewer dollars to invest in the classroom.”

Education Week, 3/30/18

Teacher Pay: How salaries, pensions, and benefits work in schools

Teachers are paid less than comparable workers with similar education levels, an Economic Policy Institute analysis of federal data shows. Since 1996, teachers’ weekly wages have decreased $30 per week to $1,092 in 2015, while all college graduates’ average weekly wages have increased $124 to reach $1,416. Those numbers are adjusted for inflation. However, non-wage benefits as a share of total compensation are more important for teachers than for other professionals. Non-wage benefits can include prepaid insurance premiums and pensions.

Education Week, 3/19/18

Collective bargaining does not improve teacher pay, study finds

Challenging the conventional wisdom about collective bargaining, a new study finds that requiring school districts to bargain with teachers’ unions did not actually improve teacher pay. Thirty-three states passed mandatory collective bargaining laws since the 1960s. Those states do typically have higher teacher salaries and higher per-pupil education spending, but they already did so “well before the emergence of collective bargaining rights or modern teacher unions,” the study found.

The 74, 2/26/18

The next educational equity battleground: Little-noticed ESSA provision to allow parents to see whether districts fund schools fairly

When Congress updated federal education law in 2015, it included a little-noticed, bipartisan provision that requires states to report per-pupil spending at the school level. The Every Student Succeeds Act provision goes into effect in the 2018–19 school year. That change, advocates and researchers predict, is likely to expose disparities in the way some districts divide resources among their schools… “The first step is just opening up the conversation and empowering our best advocates, which are usually parents,” she said. The new data will give them useful information so they “know what the status quo is [and] ask hard questions.”

Houston Public Media, 2/15/18

Houston Superintendent defends proposed changes, calls for school finance reform

As for the budget, Carranza said that the new model tries to distribute funds in a more equitable way. But he called on state lawmakers to reform the state’s school finance system, which relies heavily on local property taxes. That’s one reason why HISD is facing a budget shortfall, as property values are expected to fall in the wake of Harvey’s flooding.

Education Week, 1/23/18

Does it make sense to offer housing perks for teachers?

A growing number of districts are using housing incentives as a way to try to attract and retain K-12 educators—building teacher complexes with below-market rental rates, giving teachers living stipends, or offering discounts on home rentals and purchases. And yet it turns out there’s little proof that offering housing incentives actually makes for good K-12 policy.