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 April 13, 2012 |
Do Lotteries Really Benefit Public Schools?  The Answer is Hazy
With mega millions lotteries making national headlines, we analyze how much benefit these events really provide to public school systems.
With the Mega Millions craze sweeping the country in recent weeks, how have public schools benefited?  According to lottery advertising, one of the benefits of this form of gambling is generating funding for public schools.  While it sounds good on paper, how much benefit do lotteries really offer to public school systems? It turns out the answer to that question may be much more complex than it appears on the surface.

An Overview of Lotteries
 
According to the website for the Georgia Lottery system, lottery is a “game of chance in which players have an equal opportunity to win prizes.” The first American lottery was held in Jamestown in 1612, and it made up half the entire budget the early settlers needed to build their colony. Lotteries were used by President George Washington to support the Revolutionary War, and Thomas Jefferson used them to fund a variety of public projects.
 
Lotteries have traditionally been used to support public works projects like building and street construction, as well as education and environmental projects. Today’s lotteries utilize the latest technology to allow players the choice between instant tickets and online games, as well as the standard lottery drawing games. Prizes for lotteries have also become more extravagant, as evidenced with the recent Mega Millions game that has made headlines in states like Virginia, California and North Carolina.
 
Where does Lottery Money Go?
 
The proceeds from lotteries can go to a variety of venues, as determined by the state. Many states boast that lottery
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Published December 17, 2011 |
Florida Governor Calls for More Funding for State’s Public School System
Florida Governor Rick Scott has introduced a state budget for next year that pumps one billion more dollars into the public school system. We’ll look at his reasons for the increase and the responses to the proposal.
If Governor Rick Scott has his way, Florida schools will see a boost to their budget this year. That is good news to schools that have been pinching their pennies as budgets have dwindled in recent years, due to an increase in students and falling property values. However, the additional money won’t come without a cost, as Scott wants to move funds from the prison system and Medicaid program to offer more funding for the public school system.

Education to be Top Priority in Florida
 
According to a report at Tampa Bay Online, Scott is making a dramatic shift in policy by citing education as one of the top priorities for the state of Florida this year. Last year, the governor was criticized by Florida residents for slashing the education budget by $1.3 billion, which amounted to over $500 per student. The total cut was actually less than the governor had requested, decreasing from a 10-percent cut in his initial request to an actual eight-percent cut that was approved by the Florida legislature.
 
This year, Scott wants to boost the public school budget by $1 billion, bringing it closer to what it was prior to last year’s decreases. The change of heart by the governor may be attributed to a number of factors. First, in town meetings across the state, Scott heard time and time again how important education was to Florida residents.
 
“They [Floridians] want education to be a priority,” Scott explained to HT Politics. “I’m committed
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Published October 15, 2011 |
Count Day Becomes Major Event for Some School Districts
With budgets as tight as they have ever been, count day has become a huge event for some school districts. The more students that attend count day, the more funding the school receives.
With the first day of school still a clear memory and fall holidays right around the corner, the focus of many school districts is on a single obscure event that typically falls during the months of September or October. Count day is the one day of the school year that means everything to schools in terms of the amount of funding they receive. For every student that can be accounted for on this special day, funds are allotted for that school. During a time when school budgets are stretched well past their comfort levels, it is no wonder that count day is becoming bigger than any other day of the year for some school districts.

Why Count Day?
 
According the Michigan state government website, count day is the day when all the public schools in the state total up all of the students attending their schools. The event also occurs in other states, like Colorado and Indiana. On this day, the number of students tallied adds up to direct funding for the school. For example, every student counted on count day in Colorado brings an additional $6,400 into the school in which he is enrolled, according to data in the Denver Post. In the Detroit Public School system, every student accounted for on count day means more than $7,000 for the school.
 
Count days typically take place in both the fall and winter school terms. However, in Michigan, the fall count day makes up 90 percent of
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Published October 09, 2011 |
Fuel Your School Ignites Second Year in Utah
Fuel Your School is a Utah and California program introduced by Chevron that provides additional funding for local public schools every time someone fills up his tank. Learn about which schools benefit from the program and how the funding is being used.
Schools across the country continue to try to do more with less, and budgets are squeezed and classroom sizes begin to bulge. Funding from any source is a welcome relief, and in Utah and California, that help comes from an unlikely source – the gas pump. The Fuel Your School program launched by Chevron in both Utah and California was a big success last year, and this year, the company and the schools involved with the program hope to see the same positive results.

What is Fuel Your School?
 
Fuel Your School is a program introduced to California and Utah communities by Chevron and DonorsChoose.org. This large company and non-profit organization are teaming up to provide teachers with much needed supplies for the classroom. The focus of the funding is on STEM learning, so additional money typically goes to help science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related projects. However, other types of projects are also eligible for funding from this program.
 
The premise of the program is relatively easy – to raise money for your school, simply fill your gas tank at one of the participating Chevron stations during the month of October. For every eight gallons of gas you purchase, Chevron donates $1 to the school. Last year, the initial launch of Fuel Your School in California raised more than $850,000 for the schools in the California communities, according to the Sacramento Bee.
 
Helping Schools in California and Utah
 
According to the Fuel Your School website, Chevron introduced
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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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