This final week in the three part series, we grapple with the politics of school money, asking: Is there a better way to pay for our schools? The answer requires that we do two things: explore the challenges to change, and spotlight a few ideas that could lead to a more balanced system. What follows is a wrap-up of our reporting. For nearly every name and place, you’ll find a hyperlink to more.
This idea, that sprinkling more dollars over troubled schools won’t magically improve test scores or graduation rates, is a common refrain among many politicians, activists and experts. And they have research to back it up…This debate has raged for at least half a century, and today we’re going to put both sides under a microscope.
Over the next three weeks, the NPR Ed Team will unveil a vast collection of “School Money” stories told in collaboration with station reporters across the country. Our goal: To give voice to this school-funding imbalance and to explain what happens when many of America’s poorest students also attend its poorest schools. Click here to see how your school district compares to others on spending per student.
Newly released data from the National Center for Education Statistics show per pupil outlays have not recovered from the recession. Specifically, NCES data shows that 31 states are contributing less to public education than they did in 2008.
States like California and districts like Boston, Denver and Houston, among others, have been transitioning to a finance model that gives principals greater authority over their schools’ budgets in exchange for being held accountable for student outcomes. Rather than manage (and limit) how schools spend their money through rules and regulations, officials focus on how to distribute monies more equally among schools.
Mr. Wilson is facing a rebellion by teachers and some parents against his plan to allow families to use a single form to apply to any of the city’s 86 district-run schools or 44 charter campuses, all of which are competing for a shrinking number of students.
Student based budgeting is a flexible budget that gives principals the ability to tailor a large portion of their budget specific to their school instead of having the district put out a one-size-fits-all budget for all schools in the district. The 2015-2016 school year is the first year student-based budgeting has been used in the Metro School District, allowing schools to spend on what they need, whether it be computers, calculators, books, furniture, or anything else the school and its students need.
Hite and Monson are projecting that charter enrollment will grow by 10,000 students over the next five years. To help offset that cost, Hite said, the District is planning to close three more District schools per year, starting in 2018. As students move to charters, the District must gradually downsize, he said, to mitigate so-called stranded costs.
A new analysis of reading and math test score data from across the country confirms just how much socioeconomic conditions matter. Children in the school districts with the highest concentrations of poverty score an average of more than four grade levels below children in the richest districts.
The goal of the funding system is simple: Give schools like Oak Ridge more money and more control over how to spend that money. In exchange, school leaders have to demonstrate their spending decisions are getting more at-risk students learning.