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School Level Resource Use2020-03-13T19:22:52+00:00

School Level Resource Use

Our research aims to let leaders to examine finance and spending in relation to the whole point of the schooling enterprise, namely, student outcomes. Our analyses deal in both hard numbers and the human element in schooling. Students have different needs and carry different costs. Different mixes of students attend schools that operate in different contexts, such as size, urbanicity, governance structure or community needs and/or priorities. And each school has a staff with its own mix of strengths and weaknesses. Around the country, moves are afoot to give school leaders more authority and flexibility to make spending decisions that make sense for their building’s unique context. But many school leaders aren’t getting the finance training they need to make the most of that flexibility.

Relevant Resources

The Big Bet on Adding Staff to Improve Schools Is Breaking the Bank

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.

The “Would You Rather?” Test

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.

Training School Leaders to Spend Wisely

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.

With New Data, School Finance Is Coming Out of the Dark Ages

In this blog and podcast, Marguerite Roza explains how a sleeper provision in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will serve up a motherlode of new school-level financial data, offering an unprecedented opportunity to be better equipped to tackle some of education’s most pressing issues.

Productivity Improvements Paper Series

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.

The Productivity of Rural Schools

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."

Webinar: Training Principals for Budgeting at the School Level

In this webinar and presentation, we share seven key steps for principals to customize their use of resources based on student outcomes goals and needs. This includes concrete budget strategies and hands-on exercises to help principals understand and weigh cost and tradeoff scenarios.

Taking Off the Heat

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.

The Case Against High School Sports

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.

How Current Education Governance Distorts Financial Decisionmaking

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.

How Districts Shortchange Low-Income and Minority Students

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.