The school year had already started when test scores emerged showing deep gaps in learning. Is it too late for districts to adjust their ESSER commitments to boost recovery efforts? In this webinar we share our latest look at ESSER spending and suggest ways that districts can redirect, and in some cases refocus, their federal relief funds to respond to emerging data on what students need most.
Schools in 46 states effectively lowered their teacher-student ratios by continuing to hire while enrollment has dropped, writes Chad Aldeman at The 74.
When districts break out of deeply ingrained expenditure habits, it's a big deal. Roza & Silberstein share four financial practices that emerged during the pandemic that we hope will last.
School district budgets are about to be hit by a powerful wave of financial pressures. In this webinar we walk through a mix of factors, explain how - and when - they're likely to hit district budgets, and discuss how district and state leaders can make smart decisions now to prepare.
The pandemic left schools with mammoth challenges. Using data to zero in on problem hotspots makes tackling them much more manageable. That should happen now, write Marguerite Roza and Ellie Roza, while federal relief money is still on the table.
In this webinar we share “The Calculator,” a new tool that estimates lost learning time in more than 8,000 school districts and how much a district would need to invest to get students back on track.
The Edunomics Lab team used the results from new research to build a calculator tool that estimates lost learning time in more than 8,000 school districts and what it will cost to get students back on track. In this commentary published by The 74, the authors urge district leaders to take stock of where their students are, and invest federal relief dollars now in ways that work for students.
In this New York Daily News op ed, Chad Aldeman argues that across-the-board class size caps in New York City may not benefit all students and will limit other spending that might be more effective, for example on extracurriculars or counselors or higher salaries for teachers.
Because Congress directed federal relief funds to flow through states, districts file for reimbursement as the funds go out the door. In an analysis published by The 74, the Edunomics Lab team shares early results of tracking the actual spending data, district by district.
With contract negotiations pending and federal relief funds complicating the labor market, how can school districts respond to rising inflation pressures? In this Education Next commentary, Marguerite Roza suggests options to help mitigate long-term fiscal impacts.
In this National Comprehensive Center webinar, Edunomics Lab shared an “investment tool” to help SEAs and LEAs assess their ESSER III investments and finalize spending plans to do the most for students.
In this Houston Chronicle op ed, Jessica Swanson and Marguerite Roza urge the Houston school board to take the time to ensure a full public vetting of the superintendent's proposal to centralize school funding.
In this Brookings Chalkboard blog, Marguerite Roza and Katherine Silberstein look at the magnitude of federal relief fund spending and conclude that districts need to up the pace at which money goes out the door each month.
Laura Anderson and Marguerite Roza map six ways district leaders can communicate about and help make the most of their ESSER investments.
In an interview with Jude Schwalbach at Reason Foundation, Marguerite Roza urges leaders to stay laser-focused on the federal relief funds’ true purpose: ameliorating learning loss and getting kids back on track.
In this Education Next commentary, Marguerite Roza explains why every education leader should care about what happened to Julia Keleher.
Shifting the focus from what districts are purchasing with ESSER funds to what progress students are making would be a game changer, writes Marguerite Roza in The 74.
This working paper examines how equitably 20 WSF districts distribute dollars to their schools as measured against a cohort of 20 comparable districts that use a traditional, centralized staffing model.
This resource guides leaders in using data visualizations to foster thoughtful conversations with different stakeholder groups about financial strategy and management, equity and using dollars to do the most for students.
There is no 'Big Quit' in K-12 education. But schools have specific labor challenges that need targeted solutions, writes Chad Aldeman in The 74.
Congress attached few strings to federal relief funds and will have to trust school districts to spend the money wisely. Chad Aldeman writes in Forbes that the Feds could now help clarify what the money was for by focusing on the student outcomes that matter most.
In this webinar we look at how federal relief money is being tracked and what we're learning as a result.
In an interview with Rick Hess, Marguerite Roza shares her take on how school district leaders can spend COVID-19 aid wisely and well.
Four existing federal provisions have potential, if made a priority, to work together to foster within-district financial equity, write Marguerite Roza and Hannah Jarmolowski.
Districts are right to worry about a fiscal cliff when federal relief aid runs out, cautions Marguerite Roza, but leaders have options beyond handwringing.
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.
In this webinar Marguerite Roza and Chad Aldeman discuss the new guidance for the maintenance of equity provision and what it would mean for districts faced with implementing it.
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.
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 webinar, we take the pulse on school districts' early ESSER spending plans to share some of the patterns we're seeing.
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.
In this webinar, we share what we're learning from the data on teacher turnover and discuss how the current fiscal conditions should inform staffing and salaries as districts navigate budget and hiring season.
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 webinar we explore how district spending varies depending on whether schools are remote or in-person (is the financial focus on remediation? or on reopening?), and look at what new federal relief dollars could mean for district finances.
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.
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.
In this webinar we look at the implications of enrollment losses and state revenue declines for school district budget decisions, including hold harmless policies that protect districts from losing state funds. We also consider different district investment options to address learning loss with new federal funds.
In this webinar we answer early questions about the new federal relief funds for education and share the latest financial updates and what they mean for state and district leaders in the coming months.
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 analysis, Katie Silberstein and Marguerite Roza studied whether funds allocated by California's Local Control Funding Formula actually made it to the highest-needs schools.
In this Thomas B. Fordham Institute article, Marguerite Roza warns that district leaders may be at a higher risk for accusations of financial missteps.
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.
Edunomics Lab's findings from a three-year, Institute of Education Sciences study titled "How do Spending Patterns Change with Weighted Student Funding (WSF), and What's Happening to Equity and Achievement, Particularly for Poor and At-Risk Students?"
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.
In this Education Next article, Marguerite Roza and Hannah Jarmolowski share how state leaders can address budget shortfalls without making disproportionate cuts to high-poverty districts.
This brief offers first-cut answers to early concerns and newly emerging questions about new state reporting of per-pupil spending data.
As shortfalls in state budgets take shape, the financial outlook for public education is changing rapidly. In this webinar we share the latest implications for district finances and staffing, and a round-up of how states and districts across the country are responding.
In this series of 30-minute webinars, Marguerite Roza shares what we are learning as the financial outlook for public education evolves and implications for states and districts as they make financial plans for the coming weeks and year.
In this guest blog post, Laura Anderson and Marguerite Roza share how district leaders can best communicate financial decisions to their staff and communities in order to build trust.
In this Education Next article, Marguerite Roza and Laura Anderson share what we’re learning from early explorations of the data and the opportunities it provides for education leaders.
In this Brookings Chalkboard blog, Marguerite Roza discusses what a larger state role in education funding means for districts during an economic downturn.
What will the financial turmoil will mean for public education? In this webinar we share what we are learning about the economic outlook, CARES Act, other stimulus efforts, and what states and districts might consider as they make financial plans for the coming weeks and year.
In response to numerous inquiries on how school systems will be affected by the economic turmoil, this short interactive webinar shares what we are learning about the financial outlook, and what states and districts might consider as they make financial plans for the coming weeks and year.
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.
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.
This webinar explores connections and opportunities with ESSA's financial transparency requirement, the new Supplement-not-Supplant requirement for a district “resource allocation methodology” and “resource allocation reviews,” and what each means for states and districts.
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 Brookings Chalkboard blog post, Marguerite Roza discusses new U.S. Department of Education guidance on monitoring the “supplement-not-supplant” (SNS) provision of Title I.
In this commentary, Marguerite Roza writes that districts have a chance to strategically prepare for the inevitable economic downturn by reducing recurring costs and resisting more hiring; shifting budget choices to schools, allowing them to protect what matters most; and building trust around money and engaging community in tradeoffs.
Designed for district and community leaders, this webinar shares how student-based allocation (SBA) works, why districts use SBA, what SBA formulas look like, and what steps and resources districts can take and tap to move toward SBA.
In 2013 California adopted the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) to drive more resources to students with higher needs, create more spending flexibility, and let districts decide how to spend substantial new dollars. Our analysis examines financial data from nearly all California school systems to clarify how their spending choices changed in the first three years of the new state funding law.
Our analysis of eight districts takes a first look at whether CA districts did, under LCFF, allocate a larger share of their new funds to their highest-needs schools.
As California’s LCFF enters Year 5 of implementation, this brief analyzes whether we are seeing an improved relationship between spending and outcomes.
In 2013, California adopted the Local Control Funding Formula, shifting control over spending decisions from the state legislature to local school districts and eliminating many state-imposed spending rules. This three-part series analyzes early impacts of the LCFF, one of the nation’s largest weighted student funding (WSF) overhauls to date.
This webinar provides an overview of the financial transparency requirement in the Every Student Succeeds Act, highlight lessons learned from states working toward meeting the requirement, and provide a district lens for thinking about the opportunities this new data can provide.
These five Rapid Response briefs model the costs of productivity improvements in K-12 education, including changes in staffing ratios, the impact of late-career teacher pay raises on pension debt, and paying the best teachers more to teach more students.
This brief shows how high-minority schools receive fewer dollars in pension wealth than low-minority schools within the same district, and makes the case for pension dollars to be more transparent and included in discussions around K-12 spending equity.
In this paper we examine both the degree to which pay systems for teachers are more heavily back-loaded than for many other professions and the ramifications of this steep salary curve for teachers, states and school districts.
In this oped Marguerite Roza describes one critical issue underlying the fall 2015 Seattle Public Schools teachers' strike that neither the Seattle School District nor the Seattle Education Association.
This analysis shows how a longer work year could increase teachers’ annual salaries and improve student outcomes.
In this brief on the landmark federal law’s 50th anniversary, we offer five key principles to help policymakers revise Title I so that it fulfills its promise of augmenting funding for poor students.
In this analysis we find how allowing our best teachers to teach more students in lieu of hiring additional staff could offer significant teacher bonuses. Findings are modeled state-by-state.
In this paper we model the impacts of late-term raises on teacher pension obligations showing that on average each dollar raise triggers $10 to $16 in new taxpayer obligations and provide suggestions to mitigate such impacts while improving incentives for early and mid career teachers.
In this op-ed, we argue that when the district decides what positions to fund in a school—rather than the school being empowered to decide based on its community priorities—it destroys goodwill and trust in the school system.
This two-page brief outlines how Denver Public Schools has steadily increased the amount of district funds funneled through the student based allocation formula the school system adopted in 2008. In fiscal 2014, the district allocated $3235 million, or approximately 38 percent, of its $865 million budget.
Part of our ongoing study of budgets in systems implementing student based allocation, in this four-page brief we analyze 12 district budgets and find that the systems allocate roughly 24 to 42 percent of their funds through an SBA formula.
In this three-page brief, we analyze the share of district dollars Boston Public Schools funneled through its student based allocation formula, adopted in 2012. In fiscal 2014, the district allocated $3235 million, or approximately 38 percent, of its $865 million budget through the formula.
In this presentation at the annual Association for Education Finance and Policy conference, we share our findings that the percent of total funds allocated via student based allocation (%SBA) ranges from a low of 23 percent to a high of 45 percent among ten urban school districts studied.
In this presentation at the annual Association for Education Finance and Policy conference, we share our exploration and cost modeling of cost-neutral options to raise teacher pay and give more students access to the best teachers.
On January 29, 2014 Marguerite Roza shared risks and rewards that emerge when districts “decentralize” engagement around financial decisions to the school level with Portfolio School District Network members in Houston, TX.
VisionSBA provides education leaders with a unique outlook on spending by school level within a district, delivering insight into relative spending across schools adjusted for each school’s actual mix of students. This interactive tool developed by Marguerite Roza and Jim Simpkins answers the question: “How much does each school spend relative to all other schools in this district taking into account its particular mix of students?”
In this article published by The Atlantic, author Amanda Ripley draws on Marguerite Roza’s research as she describes the role of high school sports in the American education system, how current resource allocations favor sports over academics, and consequences as American students fall behind in international rankings.
This brief describes a common practice that inhibits both efficiency and productivity: funding students who do not actually attend school in funded districts and how this is often overlooked by state leaders.
In this chapter, Roza assesses the strengths and weaknesses of what remains of the old in education governance, scrutinizes how traditional governance forms are changing, and suggests how governing arrangements might be further altered to produce better educational outcomes for children.
This brief explains the need for student-based allocation to enable student choice and portable funding across schools within districts.
This study uses data from Seattle Public Schools to explore actual salary changes amidst rapid changes in economic context and the effect of the recession on teacher pay.
This brief examines how Chicago teacher salaries compare in regional and national contexts.
While typical school district plans offer a one-size-fits-all package of benefits to employees, cafeteria plans allow employees to customize their benefits within a given cost, an option districts may want to consider.
The shift in authority from the local to the state level raises several critical questions. In this paper, the authors suggest that the question should be “What obstacles prevent better connections between real dollars and valuable resources for students?”
This brief demonstrates how, contrary to common worry, closing Title I's "comparability provision" loophole would not force districts to mandatorily reassign teachers.
This paper examines how calculating the per unit costs of what schools or districts can deliver can provide the best insight into the implications of all that spending.
This brief details why K-12 school districts that lay off personnel according to seniority cause disproportionate damage to their programs and students than if layoffs were determined on a seniority-neutral basis.
This study examines Houston ISD and Cincinnati Public Schools, providing evidence that student-weighted allocation can be a means toward greater resource equity among schools within districts.
Dr. Roza's analysis demonstrates that, despite district bookkeeping practices that make funding across schools within the same district appear relatively comparable, substantially less money is spent in high-poverty and high-minority schools.
The authors suggest that weighed student funding would show exactly where the money is going and foster transparency and accountability for performance, thereby potentially closing the gaps in local public service quality between the privileged and the disadvantaged.
It can be difficult to assess how resources are distributed between schools, and whether every school is afforded the same opportunities to meet its educational goals. This paper addresses one key driver of spending variation between schools: shared district resources.
This report traces Cincinnati Public Schools' process of moving to a system of student based budgeting: funding children rather than staff members, and weighting the funding according to schools and students' needs.