Category Archives: Schools K-12

Before School Districts Go Broke: A Proposal for Federal Reform

Source: Kristi L. Bowman, MSU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-21, 2010

From the abstract:
School districts across the country continue to face falling revenues and are scrambling to cut their budgets and adjust to leaner times. But districts have never had to make such drastic adjustments – and some of them are nearing a point of fiscal crisis. In fact, in summer 2011, we will see school districts hit what education law and policy experts call the “funding cliff”: revenue from state and local sources will not have rebounded, and the federal stimulus funding approved in August 2010 will nearly have run out. A nation-wide solution is needed, and this Article proposes just that. First, the Article defines the problem, looking beyond the recession to examine the systemic and situational challenges in school finance that the recession has illuminated. Second, the Article searches federal and state statutes and regulations for legal mechanisms that are sufficient to deal with school districts’ current and future fiscal crises and finds a substantial gap: in 19 states, not one legal mechanism is available to school districts in fiscal crisis (including federal municipal bankruptcy), and in the remaining 31 states, there is considerable variation in the utility of the authorized legal mechanisms. Third, the Article proposes that when Congress reauthorizes No Child Left Behind, which it is expected to do in 2011, it should include fiscal accountability provisions that require states to (1) help districts create immediate, additional cost savings, (2) publicly monitor districts’ fiscal health and create a plan for escalating involvement when a district nears and reaches fiscal crisis, and (3) assist in stabilizing districts’ revenues long-term.

Hot Topic: Education

Source: Council of State Governments, Capitol Ideas, Vol. 53 no. 5, September-October 2010

In this issue of Capitol Ideas we share the challenges and celebrate the success states are experiencing in their quest to adequately fund and effectively design high performance educational experiences for today’s students.
Articles include:
* Duncan on the Issues
* Common Core State Standards
* Federalism & Schools
* School Nutrition
* Civics Education
* Civics Education & Voting
* Teaching September 11th
* Charter Schools
* Funding Education
* Funding Higher Education

Local Support for Nutrition Integrity in Schools

Source: Ethan A. Bergman, Ruth W. Gordon, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 110, Issue 8, August 2010

From the abstract:
It is the position of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) that schools and communities have a shared responsibility to provide students with access to high-quality, affordable, nutritious foods and beverages. School-based nutrition services, including the provision of meals through the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, are an integral part of the total education program. Strong wellness policies promote environments that enhance nutrition integrity and help students to develop lifelong healthy behaviors. ADA actively supported the 2004 and proposed 2010 Child Nutrition reauthorization which determines school nutrition policy. ADA believes that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans should serve as the foundation for all food and nutrition assistance programs and should apply to all foods and beverages sold or served to students during the school day. Local wellness policies are mandated by federal legislation for all school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program. These policies support nutrition integrity, including a healthy school environment. Nutrition integrity also requires coordinating nutrition education and promotion and funding research on program outcomes. Registered dietitians and dietetic technicians, registered, and other credentialed staff, are essential for nutrition integrity in schools to perform in policy-making, management, education, and community-building roles. A healthy school environment can be achieved through adequate funding of school meals programs and through implementation and evaluation of strong local wellness policies.
See also:
Press release

Unlocking the Potential of School Nursing: Keeping Children Healthy, In School, and Ready to Learn

Source: Charting Nursing’s Future, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, August 18, 2010

From the summary:
A new brief from RWJF’s Charting Nursing’s Future series highlights the vital role school nurses play, and the funding challenge schools confront supporting nurses’ work keeping children healthy.

For more than a century, school nurses have played a critical role in keeping U.S. schoolchildren healthy. Their duties go far beyond tending to recess scrapes and bruises. They deal with students’ chronic health conditions, life-threatening allergy and asthma events and epidemics of various sorts; they connect students to substance-abuse treatment, mental, behavioral and reproductive health services; they screen for vision, hearing and other problems that might impair learning; they ensure immunization compliance and administer first aid; and more. In short, school nurses provide care that many children would not otherwise receive, and greatly reduce the overall cost of care because they are able to intercept and address problems before they become severe and costly.

Revenues and Expenditures by Public School Districts: School Year 2007-08 (Fiscal Year 2008)

Source: Lei Zhou, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2010323, August 18, 2010

From the summary:
This brief publication contains data on revenues and expenditures per pupil made by school districts for school year 2007-08. Median per pupil revenue and expenditure data are reported by state, as well as values at the 5th and 95th percentiles. Data for charter schools are reported separately. There are also discussions on the different types of school districts, and other resources that may be helpful in analyzing school district level data. Revenues and expenditures for the 100 largest school districts are included, as well as federal revenues by program.

PCBs in Schools: What about School Maintenance Workers?

Source: David M. Newman, NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health, Volume 20, Number 2, 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Driven by environmental and parent activists, government agencies are paying increasing attention to the issue of PCBs in in-place caulk, particularly in school buildings. At the same time, there is insufficient consideration of the school maintenance workers and contractors who maintain and replace PCB caulk, even though they may constitute the school population with the highest exposures and risks. This commentary briefly assesses recent PCB-related developments at the U. S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the New York State Education Department from an occupational health perspective.
Herrick’s Response to Newman’s PCBs in Schools: What about School Maintenance Workers?
Source: Robert F. Herrick, NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health, Volume 20, Number 2, 2010

School Districts’ Perspectives on the Economic Stimulus Package

Source: Nancy Kober, Center on Education Policy, July 15, 2010

From the summary:
In the spring of 2010, CEP surveyed a nationally representative sample of school districts to learn about their fiscal situation and how the funds provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have impacted them over the last year. CEP found that the federal funds helped districts save or create teaching jobs and stabilize budgets, but that most districts expected to layoff teachers in the 2010-11 school year. The report also addresses districts’ efforts to carryout ARRA’s four reform areas, district uses of State Fiscal Stabilization Funds and supplemental Title I and IDEA funds, and problems faced by districts in implementing ARRA.
See also:
Press release

Public Elementary-Secondary Education Finance Data

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, June 2010

Education finance data include revenues, expenditures, debt, and assets (cash and security holdings) of elementary and secondary public school systems. Statistics cover school systems in all states, and include the District of Columbia. Data are available in viewable tables and downloadable files.

Viewable Data:
* Public Education Finances Report

Downloadable Data:
* State-level Tables – State-level tables containing selected revenue, expenditure, debt, and asset (cash and securities) data items available in Excel format.

* Individual Unit Tables – Individual unit tables containing data for selected revenue, expenditure, and debt data items for all school systems. Excel, .txt

* All Data Items – Files containing data for all items on the F-33 survey form, as well as unit identifiers, descriptive variables, and summary data items. Each file contains data for all school systems. Excel, .txt

* Data Item Flags – Beginning with fiscal year 1999, the F-33 school system finance files include data item flags to indicate whether a data item was reported by the state education agency or adjusted by the Census Bureau. Excel, .txt

Financing Special Education: State Funding Formulas

Source: Eileen Ahearn, Project Forum, April 2010

The cost of educating students with disabilities and how to fund their services have been the subject of a number of studies since 1982 that were conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) and/or projects conducted by the American Institutes for Research’s (AIR) Center for Special Education Finance (CSEF). CSEF was funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education, from 1992 to 2004.

This study is an update of the 1999-2000 CSEF survey of state special education funding formulas. Current information on this topic was gathered through a survey of state special education directors conducted by Project Forum at NASDSE in conjunction with Tom Parrish and Jenifer Harr-Robins of AIR. The current survey and this document address only mechanisms for distributing state dollars to local districts under state law and policy. Project Forum at NASDSE completed this document as part of its cooperative agreement with OSEP.