Stretching the School Dollar 101

Money talk can put people off, especially in education, where the mantra for decades has been, "Just spend more!" In the "new normal" of flat education budgets, however, more money is not easy for school boards and administrators to find.

In many places, this has meant across the board layoffs and a reduction in services provided to kids. This new era presents a tough challenge for superintendents and school budget officers charged with balancing the budget and doing right by the youngsters in their charge. Schools must be empowered (and incentivized) to deliver instruction more effectively, improving both quality and cost-efficiency. Fordham works to provide resources for school leaders to do just that, as well as provide analysis and advice to policymakers hoping to make the jobs of K-12 leaders easier. (Check out our policy brief from last year for a few ideas for state policy.)

On this blog, I'll examine a broad range of topics related to school finance: state funding formulas, healthcare and retirement benefits for teachers, parent access to financial data, and more. I'll be joined from time to time by other experts from the non-profit and public sectors as well.

A bit about me: I came to K-12 education from the private sector, where I worked as a management consultant in the hospitality industry. I left to pursue an MBA at Duke University, and during that program I was a summer fellow with Education Pioneers working in charter finance for the District of Columbia government. Now I serve as Fordham's director of finance, keeping the money (and operations) side of our organization humming.

I hope you'll join me here to explore how governments can distribute education dollars effectively and fairly — and how schools can spend them to greatest effect. Please share your experiences in the comments as well!

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