TIPS & TOOLS for PARENTS and COMMUNITY ADVOCATES
States and districts are required to publicly report school-by-school spending starting with expenditures from the 2018-19 school year. Access to spending data for every public school in every community will be a game changer for those advocating on behalf of students, including parents, community organizations, and concerned citizens. The data may raise thorny questions about which schools get what and why. It may also surface some unexpected (and potentially concerning) patterns, prompting questions about spending trade-offs and changes to ensure schools have equitable access to public education dollars—and that those dollars are used wisely to support improvements in student achievement.
With School-by-School Spending Data You Can:
- Examine spending patterns and compare spending with outcomes, to see what trends emerge.
- Talk to school and district leaders about current spending practices and what policies or practices are in place that inhibit or support their ability to leverage dollars to support students.
- Start conversations at the school and/or district level about spending decisions, equitable distribution of resources, and how spending patterns are or are not related to performance.
- Inform schooling decisions for your children.
- Ask to participate in budgeting and spending conversations, consider tradeoffs, and support efforts to leverage spending to improve outcomes.
School Spending Trends in Your Community
While districts receive funding from federal and state governments, local school boards are responsible for how resources are distributed across the schools in their district. Every district spends its dollars differently. Therefore, it is important to understand how dollars are allocated across schools in your community and how each school leverages its resources to support students. Questions you might explore:
Additional Resources for Understanding Spending and Advocating for System Improvements
Here are some resources to help parents and advocates understand education spending, how funding decisions are made, and how to talk with education leaders about spending decisions, trade-offs, and outcomes.
Have questions? Need research or analysis? Edunomics Lab can provide assistance or recommend expert support and other resources.
Contact Deb Britt at Edunomics@georgetown.edu for more information.
Get smarter on how to use financial data with Georgetown University’s Certificate in Education Finance.