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ERIC Number: ED516583
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Stretching the School Dollar: A Brief for State Policymakers. Policy Brief
Petrilli, Michael J.; Roza, Marguerite
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
After years of non-stop increases--national k-12 per-pupil spending is up by "one-third" in inflation-adjusted dollars since 1995--schools now face the near-certainty of repeated annual budget cuts for the first time since the Great Depression. In some states and districts, reductions will be dramatic--well into the double digits. And these new revenue-trend levels are likely to be semi-permanent, what with increased pressure on the public purse from the retirement of Baby Boomers, Medicaid and Medicare costs, debt payments, and other demands. The challenge for education policymakers is not only to cut carefully so as not to harm student learning, but, better yet, to transform these fiscal woes into reform opportunities: to cut smartly and thereby help schools and students emerge stronger than ever. This paper offers some fifteen ideas on how to do that, mostly drawn from a recent Harvard Education Press book developed by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the American Enterprise Institute: "Stretching the School Dollar: How Schools and Districts Can Save Money While Serving Students Best." These ideas are: (1) End "last hired, first fired" practices; (2) Remove class-size mandates; (3) Eliminate mandatory salary schedules; (4) Eliminate state mandates regarding work rules and terms of employment; (5) Remove "seat time" requirements; (6) Merge categorical programs and ease onerous reporting requirements; (7) Create a rigorous teacher-evaluation system; (8) Pool health-care benefits; (9) Tackle the fiscal viability of teacher pensions; (10) Move toward weighted student funding; (11) Eliminate excess spending on small schools and small districts; (12) Allocate spending for learning-disabled students as a percent of population; (13) Limit the length of time that students can be identified as English Language Learners; (14) Offer waivers of non-productive state requirements; and (15) Create bankruptcy-like loan provisions. (Contains 7 footnotes.)
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation & Institute. 1701 K Street NW Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-223-5452; Fax: 202-223-9226; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Thomas B. Fordham Institute