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At Work At School

An Afton Partners Blog

All Posts

Finding the Right School Facility and Affording It 

The Context: Inequitable access to quality school facilities  Throughout the country, most charter school organizations obtain permanent school facilities without a supporting tax base, government credit ratings, or full access to available properties.  High-poverty communities and neighborhoods of color have less access to capital and networks of support. This can make the process of opening… Continued

Strategy and Implementation Planning for System Improvement

The Context: Advocacy leads to legislation Like most states, Minnesota needed a strategy for providing high-quality early care and education to all families. They wanted a system that was equitable, affordable, and accessible to everyone. Coordinated advocacy led to bipartisan support for a law establishing The Great Start for All Minnesota Children Task Force. The… Continued

Strategic Investment to Stabilize the ECE Workforce: Illinois’s Smart Start Workforce Grants 

The Context: Low compensation creates challenges with educator recruitment and retention  Nationwide, early care and education (ECE) staff are drastically under-compensated for the important work they do, with an average wage of about $14/hour. Low compensation means child care programs struggle to recruit and retain qualified staff. When providers reduce their capacity or close due… Continued

Using Your Charter School Finance Committee for Impact and Sustainability

At a time when many external forces create added financial complexity, school board finance committees can be an invaluable resource for mission impact and long-term sustainability. At Afton Partners, we advise our charter school partners to follow the framework of the “5 Cs” when developing and evolving their organization’s financial governance. The “5 Cs”– Charge,… Continued

Reimagining the School Funding Adequacy Study

Afton updates tried-and-true methods to uncover meaningful insights  In 2023, the Washington D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor of Education (DME) sought to re-examine how schools in D.C. are funded and how the existing funding structures serve students.   Over the past several years, D.C. has made great strides toward adequate and equitable funding, striving to… Continued

IL Gov. Pritzker Touts Early Childhood Focus in 2024 State of the State Address

Earlier today, Illinois Governor Pritzker delivered his State of the State Address, highlighting Smart Start Illinois, which is a historic investment in the state’s early care and education (ECE) system. Smart Start launched last year and is already improving access to quality child care and other critical services for young children and their families, while… Continued

2023 Year in Review and Looking Ahead

Afton had an impactful year in 2023! We are so grateful for the relationships we sustained and new ones formed. Every initiative we have supported has offered an opportunity to strengthen social systems with a focus on justice. We’ve expanded our skill sets to offer a comprehensive set of solutions to drive change in the… Continued

If you’re going to close schools, do it this way

By Katie Morrison-Reed, Partner Over the past couple of years, whisperings of a potential wave of school consolidations turned into a regular chatter, and that chatter has since turned into announcements. Across the country, many school districts have seen continuous declining enrollment trends, with a steep loss during COVID that doesn’t show signs of fully… Continued

The Impact of ‘the Six Es’ on District Budgets

School districts across the country have experienced massive systemic changes over the past few years. However, much of this disruption has been masked by one-time pandemic relief funds in the national conversation – and in budgets. As those funds end, states and districts will need to tackle the resulting challenges head on. At Afton, we’ve… Continued