ESSA requires states and districts to publicly report school-by-school per-pupil expenditures. Access to spending figures at every school in every community means a treasure trove of data. It will now be much easier to investigate (and understand) the relationship between school outcomes and school spending; examine spending equity among schools in a district and among districts in a state; and compare spending across states.
The data may raise thorny questions as parents, school boards, advocates, principals—and media—try to understand which schools get what, why, and what outcomes they’re getting with the dollars.
Below are resources for journalists to consider how to use this new school-level spending data to inform your reporting and start important conversations in your community.