Understanding school finance is one thing. Being effective in communicating about it is another skill entirely.
Most education leaders could do a lot better when it comes to talking effectively about education finance, especially if they hope to be convincing or inspire trust. Whether the topic is a state funding formula, a local tax levy, teacher salaries, or spending on athletics, emerging research spells out what works—and what doesn’t. Drawing from insights on this collective research, below are some headliner do’s and don’ts intended to build understanding and inspire trust: link the issue of finance to students, communicate with dollar amounts and acknowledge tradeoffs but avoid using business lingo, put any research in the local context, offer the public and those inside the system a means to weigh in on financial decisions, and involve principals—either as messengers or in the message; they are the most trusted people in the education system.