School Spending Archive 2003
Anatomy of a Budget Cut
School districts across the nation are tightening their belts in the wake of the current economic downturn, hoping to avoid large financial shortfalls that can be devastating—not just to the schools, but to the entire community. It is during times like these that the school board must do everything in its power to retain credibility with the community. Knee-jerk decisions about the fate of programs and personnel can have a boomerang effect on your district and your community for years to come.
Fear of Falling
A triple whammy is hitting school districts around the nation: severely reduced revenues; outdated and cumbersome funding formulas; and the fallout from fiscal mismanagement and inconsistent leadership. In the face of tight budgets, governors, state legislatures, educators, and researchers, advocates of all stripes are searching for better methods to pay for public schools and looking for more effective ways to engage the public in the issue. And they are laying the groundwork for political battles ahead over larger reforms that go beyond current-year bailouts and short-term fixes.
Blowing in the Wind
Times are tough all over, but never have they been tougher for the public schools. Gone are the balmy days when many states had enough revenues to cut taxes, bolster rainy day funds, and increase funding for education. Now, as the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) succinctly puts it, State budgets are under siege.
Beyond the Bake Sale
While public schools have been pushing candy sales, car washes, and other nickel-and-dime fund-raising efforts, private schools, colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations have been busy raising billions of dollars each year from corporations, foundations, the government, and private citizens. Fund-raising in America is big business, but public schools have been slow to cash in on it.