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District are sending large sums out the door to vendors

We estimate 20-30% of ESSER is going toward contracts for purchased services, curriculum, supplies, one-time-projects, and more. Smart contracts and smart approval processes can help ensure they deliver real value for students.

Districts play a starring role in school finance

For decades, the field of education finance has focused heavily on states (revenues, funding formulas). Now that attention is shifting to school districts’ spending choices, especially regarding federal ESSER funds.

Did public education miss the data revolution?

What data can shed light on whether recovery efforts are working? Are rates of chronic absenteeism coming down? Are students back on grade level in math? District leaders will only know to pivot if they look at the data.

ESSER money is now pouring into schools

School districts have two years left to spend about $5 billion a month, raising spending about 9% above normal expenditure levels. Then, the spigot shuts off.

Do districts need new budget moves?

It’s that time of year, the last step in what we call “The Budget Dance,” where school boards vote on a spreadsheet that officially becomes next year’s spending plan. What steps are missing in the process?

Look what the ESSER bunny brought!

Our new ESSER Expenditure Dashboard is now live. It tracks actual federal relief spending by district. We’ve got data for nearly half the states so far with more on the way.

The North Star of schooling

Getting students back on track is what ESSER is for, right? Or is it? With no clear end goal, focused objective, or common yardstick, ESSER desperately needs a North Star.

Celebrating a wave of changes to teacher compensation

Driven by pandemic staffing challenges, many districts have embraced new pay structures. Can these approaches pave the way for more nimble compensation packages that move beyond rigid, one-size-fits-all teacher salary schedules?

The back-to-school labor crunch

It’s a strange time in the public education labor market, and districts are having to get creative to solve their workforce challenges.

The clock is ticking. Help is on the way

Districts have until the end of the summer to submit plans on how they’ll spend their one-time federal relief funds. Planning for these new dollars is an incredible challenge. And the stakes are high.

Spending federal aid, military v. ed, & grants for NERD$

Our team has been fielding lots of requests about how to use the highly flexible federal relief dollars. With flexibility comes lots of responsibility to get it right. Toward that end, we recommend five key principles to guide spending decisions.

Teacher turnover, NERD$ & more

We’re excited to announce NERD$: National Education Resource Database on Schools, the first-ever national set of school-by-school spending data. Captured for research and comparisons, these data have potential to transform our understanding of ed finance.

Upcoming webinar, fun with charts & more

What’s going on with district finances? The answer: it depends. Districts that have been operating in-person since the fall have faced new costs, while districts that have been fully remote for the last year appear to be saving money on staff and facilities.

Tips & tools to navigate ed finance in 2021

2021 is guaranteed to be tumultuous for public education finances! As we march forward, Edunomics Lab has several resources to help leaders navigate the unstable landscape ahead.


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