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ERIC Number: EJ845834
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Breaking Down School Budgets
Roza, Marguerite
Education Next, v9 n3 p28-33 Sum 2009
As the economic outlook continues to darken, school districts will be looking for ways to cut costs, and they will no doubt wrestle with some difficult issues. When does it make sense to keep classes small? When does it make sense to increase class sizes to cut costs? Such debates are often carried out in the absence of information about what actually happens in schools or what the options might be for reallocating scarce resources. School districts produce reams of financial data to check off the right boxes on accounting and compliance reports required by states and the federal government. Typically missing is any financial analysis that follows the money into the school building to the classroom. Yet the classroom is where the mission-critical work happens and where the conversion of resources into services affects student performance. Educators need indicators that tell them whether the basic design and operation of their high schools direct resources in ways that sustain and enhance the district's academic strategies and priorities. Academic outcomes are one such indicator. A measure of spending that enables comparison across service areas is another. Computing spending patterns is not difficult. Per-pupil service expenditures can easily be determined at the classroom level. This analysis computes and reports spending on various services for high schools in three anonymous districts. The findings reveal the ways in which per-pupil spending varies by subject and course level. While the findings are not intended to be suggestive of all districts in the country, the work does demonstrate how such fiscal metrics can reveal the financial implications of the inner workings of individual high schools. The findings presented in this article demonstrate how isolating spending on discrete services can: (1) identify the relationships between priorities, current spending, and outcomes; (2) clarify both relative spending on discrete services and the organizational practices that influence how resources are deployed; and (3) establish the current cost of providing high school services as a necessary precursor to identifying whether there are better ways to provide some services. (Contains 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A