Public School Budgets

We offer an overview of public school budgets; where the money comes from, how it’s spent and what schools are doing to get more funding. Learn how schools are cutting budgets and how the cuts will impact your child. Delve into some of the creative ways school districts are trying to raise money and where the extra money is spent.
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Published May 26, 2011 |
Marching for Schools: The Save Our Schools March Protests Education Cuts
Parents around the country are partaking in the Save Our Schools March to help maintain funding for our education system. Learn more about this movement and how you can get involved.
Many educators and parents are fed up with the current state of public education and have decided to take matters into their own hands. In an effort to make their voices heard in state legislatures and in Washington, they have issued an invitation for all who are disgruntled with the school system to meet together this summer in Washington D.C. The Save Our Schools March has been gaining steam since its inception a year ago, and now there are many local marches planned across the country as well. We'll take a look at the purpose of the Save Our Schools March and why so many across the country have become frustrated enough with public education to take a public stand.

What is the Save Our Schools March?
 
This movement that has cumulated into the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action began approximately one year ago. Many parents, students, educators and community members have become increasingly frustrated with the No Child Left Behind Act that went into effect 10 years ago and the more recent Race to the Top initiative by the Obama Administration. According to the organization's website, this group has seen the educational system transform into one that is primarily governed by test scores, rather than real instruction.
 
Many in this movement have taken their concerns to state politicians and some have even gone all the way to Capital Hill with their issues. However, they do not feel that anyone who was in a
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Published November 10, 2010 |
Is Your Public School Fairly Funded? View the Report
Is the funding for your public school being fairly allocated? Learn more about the factors of funding and if your school is getting the fair end of the stick.
One of the primary factors used to assess the quality of public education in our country is the amount of money that is pumped into the educational system by individual states. In light of President Obama's nationwide contest for funding, dubbed "Race to the Top," funding of public schools has become of even greater interest.

A recent study of school funding found that while a handful of states do reasonably well in getting funding to the districts that need it most, others are sorely lacking, putting low income students at an even bigger disadvantage when it comes to their education and future.
 
About the Study
 
The recent study, titled, "Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card," was authored by David Sciarra, executive director, and Daniel Farrie, research director, of the Education Law Center in New Jersey, and Bruce Baker of Rutgers University Graduate School of Education.
 
The report looked at all 50 states and rates school funding fairness on the following factors:
 
       ·        Funding level
 
       ·        Funding distribution
 
       ·        State fiscal effort
 
       ·        Public school coverage

The report uses the detailed analysis of these factors to determine which states exercised equality in their funding efforts, assuring that the school districts that needed the funding most were the top priority for their states.
 
According to a report in Daily Finance, the study looked specifically at the amount of funding per student, the percentage of the state's budget spent on public education, and the allocation of money to schools in high poverty areas.
 
The results
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Published June 23, 2010 |
Growing Trend: Public Schools are Soliciting Churches and Businesses for Money
Public schools are becoming creative in fundraising in the midst of major budget crises. Learn about how they are selling ad space to companies and sponsorships to churches in exchange for school supplies and money.
With schools across the country facing severe budget cuts due to the current economic slowdown, some are getting creative in their money-raising efforts. As home values plummet and residents are forced to relocate, many school districts are forced to cut their budgets by as much as 10% or more. This means that many schools must choose between cutting funding for much needed supplies and programs and reducing staff.
 
However, by finding new ways to raise money, from partnering with local churches to selling advertising on school buses, districts are finding ways to get the money they need to provide supplies and staffing to their students.
 
The Church Connection
 
Churches have a mission to help people in need. Schools have become quite needy, with severe budget cuts that prohibit them from providing even the basics to their students. It appears that at least one public school in Florida has recognized the connection between the two.
 
Combee Elementary School in Lakeland, Florida, has been "adopted" by the First Baptist Church at the Mall, according to a recent report on the Wall Street Journal. The local church has stocked a resource room with $5,000 worth of supplies for the school and continues to meet with the school principal to identify additional needs and try to meet them.
 
In exchange for its financial assistance, the church gains access to families in the community, according to church pastors. Pastor Dave McClamma told the WSJ, "We have inroads into public schools that we have not had
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Published September 10, 2009 |
Public School Budget Cuts Translate into Higher Costs for Families
Public school budget cuts are now impacting parents' pocketbooks. Learn about how public schools are now requiring parents to pay for certain school supplies, ranging from printed worksheets to even textbooks.
Budget cuts have forced public schools to reduce their curriculum offerings, increase class sizes, and cut back on teacher positions. However, to fill the fiscal gap, many schools are taking even more drastic measures to reduce their operating costs.
 
The costs of new textbooks, classroom materials, and even handouts can result in massive school expenses. Subsequently, many public schools are now requiring students to purchase their own materials and books! As a result, many families may be forced to increase their educational spending to meet their child’s classroom needs.
 
Cutting Jobs, Classes...and Textbooks?

When schools are faced with budget costs, most districts begin by eliminating faculty positions; however, reducing the number of teachers and administrators can only go so far on the bottom line. If school leaders reduce their faculty numbers, but still have not met their budgetary restrictions, then leaders are forced to develop new, and often controversial, alternatives.

For example, according to ABC News, schools across the state of California are hoping to reduce their spending by using older textbooks for longer periods of time. While California schools have already eliminated various educational programs, along with teaching and faculty positions, these cuts are simply not enough – and new textbooks are literally getting the ax.

In fact, school leaders report that the state of California will not be able to provide most of its public schools with new textbooks until at least 2014!  Some schools in California, however, who do have textbook money saved, are
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