Districts are right to worry about a fiscal cliff when federal relief aid runs out, cautions Marguerite Roza, but leaders have options beyond handwringing.
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How districts react to unusual labor challenges like the bus driver shortage may tell us whether they can adapt to meet the moment and which, if any, will consider adopting innovations common in industries outside of education.
Rather than making long-term commitments that can lead to financial stress down the road, Chad Aldeman suggests there are other ways for districts to both raise pay and build capacity.
Chad Aldeman and Marguerite Roza explain how an expansive interpretation of a new federal provision could have unintended consequences.
As school districts decide how to spend their flexible federal relief funding, Marguerite Roza and Chad Aldeman offer five key questions to help ensure they make the most of it for students.
Marguerite Roza and Laura Anderson map five ways principals can help make the most of the American Rescue Plan dollars, in a blog published by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
Based on messaging research on how district staff, principals, teachers, and parents engage with and react to information about school finance, this template will help principals engage their community in a way that cultivates trust and helps make the most of the federal relief dollars.
In Forbes, Marguerite Roza writes that the federal requirement for “meaningful consultation” on the use of ARP funds sounds like a call for participatory budgeting, and wonders whether it could prompt a new level of civic engagement in school spending.
In this Forbes commentary, Chad Aldeman explains how the American Recovery Plan differs from past federal relief efforts for schools, and what that means for state and district leaders looking to make these one-time dollars count.
Marguerite Roza offers six tips for reporters on covering how school districts choose to spend $122 billion in flexible American Rescue Plan funds, the biggest onetime federal payout to schools ever.
In this Education Next commentary, Marguerite Roza and Jessica Swanson suggest that districts give a portion of federal relief dollars directly to schools to decide how best to spend on behalf of their students.
Across Washington state, public schools retained a higher percentage of teachers last year than they do in normal years. That's important information for school district leaders as they decide how to spend the windfall of federal relief funds headed their way.
Adding staff has been the main “big bet” in public education for decades. With new federal relief aid heading to schools, will district leaders meet the moment with new and different ideas for what students need now?
In this commentary at The 74, Chad Aldeman shows how offering current teachers stipends to take on more hours could provide students with additional learning time without locking districts into long-term financial obligations.
Will an unprecedented federal infusion of money lead to an unprecedented recovery effort? In this Thomas B. Fordham Institute blog, Chad Aldeman considers the range of possibilities.
In this Education Next commentary, Marguerite Roza and Chad Aldeman suggest that it's a good time for leaders to employ the classic "would you rather" test to help explore spending tradeoffs and think through the cost and value of competing investments.
This decision tree describes the desired features of a state education funding formula and walks policymakers through key decisions and considerations around balancing efficiency, equity and trade-offs in particular contexts.
In this Forbes commentary, Marguerite Roza proposes a way for the federal government to provide student debt relief while putting SS/Medicare back on a financially sustainable path.
An Edunomics Lab analysis finds that while many districts are struggling financially, those that have remained mostly or entirely virtual have actually been able to save money. Some are even on pace to run surpluses this year.
In this Brookings Chalkboard blog, Chad Aldeman digs into BLS data to find that recent public education job losses stem from a slowdown in hiring, not layoffs or a surge in worker turnover.
In this brief, Hannah Jarmolowski and Marguerite Roza outline what states need to weigh when it comes to hold harmless provisions.
Chad Aldeman shares an analysis of the life trajectories of babies born during the Spanish Flu, and possible implications for the economic impacts of COVID-19.
This paper introduces a new national data archive that will capture year-over-year school-by-school spending figures reported by each state and enable easier cost-benefit analysis and new research on equity, innovation, and productivity at the school level.
This cross‐district comparison of 19 districts finds commonly cited reasons for adopting weighted student funding (equity, transparency, and school‐level spending flexibility). However, there is no standard WSF formula and districts are implementing it quite differently.
In this op-ed, Marguerite Roza proposes a separate, flexible sum targeted at helping students for whom pandemic schooling isn't working.
This brief summarizes findings from a three-year, U.S. Department of Education-funded research study analyzing the use of weighted student funding (WSF) at the district and state level.
In this brief, based upon a 2017-18 survey of 639 principals in 14 school districts implementing weighted student funding, we find that principals are actively engaged in the budget process and utilize their flexibilities, but often do not come into their role with the financial leadership training to carry out those tasks.
This brief offers first-cut answers to early concerns and newly emerging questions about new state reporting of per-pupil spending data.
In this Brookings Chalkboard blog, Marguerite Roza discusses what a larger state role in education funding means for districts during an economic downturn.
In this Hunt Institute "Making Sense of NC School Funding" blog, Marguerite Roza provides a national perspective on how states approach school funding.
By going all-in on staffing, we’ve crowded out other potential investments that can positively impact student learning. In this paper, Marguerite Roza writes that competing strategies should be viewed through the lens of which can do the most for students with the limited dollars at hand.
When the U.S. Department of Education proposed significant changes to the Civil Rights Data Collection, we broke with many of our peer organizations to write in support of eliminating the school finance portion.
Past generations racked up billions in teacher pension debt and younger generations are now expected to pay for it. This blog shows how a multi-generational discussion of that topic might play out.
Chicago's senior teachers got hit with a double whammy. As we discuss in this blog, for those at the top of the pay scale retiring in the next four years, the strike meant lost wages and a decrease in future pension payments.
This brief quantifies, in per pupil and per teacher terms, the magnitude of the crowd-out that pension debt creates for six states: CA, IL, LA, SC, TX, and VT. The goal is to help education leaders grasp the relationship between their pension debt bills and their aspirations for spending on schooling inputs, including teacher salaries.
Chicago teacher contract negotiations stalled over who controls staffing decisions in schools. In this commentary, Marguerite Roza explains why principals should be entrusted to make the spending decisions that best serve their students.
Education spending always involves choices, and smart choices require understanding value for the dollar. This paper uses the "would you rather" exercise to explore tradeoffs in school spending and think through the value of various cost-equivalent investments.
Resource allocation reviews (RARs) in districts that serve low-performing schools offer a new opportunity to examine the connection between resource allocation and academic outcomes. This sample data report is an example of what state leaders can assemble and share with district leaders.
Student-based allocation (also known as weighted student funding) provides the most equitable, efficient, and flexible path toward increased productivity. This brief explains why it is a good idea to allocate resources on the basis of students, and measures several states' progress toward doing so.
This commentary lays out why it may be time for states to establish agencies modeled on the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) to certify school district obligations before they take effect and push districts into financial crisis.
This article in Education Next shines a light on the pressing need to better support district and school leaders in their work on the spending side of the equation.
This article provides tips for school, district, and state leaders to communicate effectively about school finance issues—whether the topic is a state funding formula, a local tax levy, teacher salaries, or spending on athletics—and build much-needed trust and understanding in the process.
In this commentary The 74, Marguerite Roza and Anthony Drew note that many of the country’s largest school districts have shifted to a decentralized funding model, allocating funds to schools based on student needs, and boosting equity and transparency in the process. They urge LAUSD leaders to follow suit.
In this blog, Marguerite Roza discusses initial findings from our IES-funded research study that seeks to document the range of WSF formulas and detail how they are being implemented in school systems around the nation.
In this commentary in The 74, Marguerite Roza urges legislators to consider a proposed pilot program to give school leaders and staff a say in how federal resources are used in their schools
This checklist will help SEAs determine what they hope to accomplish with their financial transparency reporting and which data elements to include in order to answer a range of critical questions.
At the Education Writers Association National Seminar on June 2nd, hosted at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Marguerite Roza presented on new school spending reports emerging under the federal ESSA financial transparency requirement.
This document offers a set of exercises designed to help education leaders better understand the relationship between spending and student performance—and position them to use emerging data to explore opportunities for productivity in their day-to-day work improving education.
Remote rural districts are often more expensive and yield lower student outcomes than urban and suburban districts. Yet some rural districts generate higher-than-expected learning results without proportionately higher spending. Based on interviews with leaders in 30 rural remote districts, Marguerite Roza identifies six factors that make some districts “productivity superstars."