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Financial Innovations During COVID Show Schools Can Be Nimble When They Have To

BY debraabritt
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Marguerite Roza and Katherine Silberstein
Published September 12, 2022 on The 74

For decades, school budgets have been frustratingly static, with each year’s expenditures looking much like a carbon copy of the prior year’s. Even when there are longstanding issues with student outcomes or equity, the budget gets built on preceding year figures, seemingly immune to changing context or achievement successes or failures.

Teacher pay, the biggest expenditure item, religiously follows a uniform salary scale altered only by a modest percentage adjustment, regardless of whether the district routinely has trouble filling positions in some subject areas or high-needs schools. When called upon to make spending changes, leaders cite rigidities like labor contracts, budget commitments, regulations and more.

So when districts break out of those deeply ingrained expenditure habits, it’s a big deal. And during the pandemic, many of them did just that.

In this commentary at The 74, the authors share four financial practices that we hope will last.

Read the commentary

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