School Spending Archive 2004
Equity in School Funding
Providing an equitable education to all children is a tricky legal and fiscal balancing act. For more than three decades, many legal and educational theorists have been dissatisfied with the way states fund their schools. Most states use systems based on local property taxes to obtain and distribute money to school districts. Property-wealthy school districts generally have more money to spend than poorer districts. In some states, they spend up to 10 times more.
Budget Red Flags
One day in the summer of 2002, Oakland, Calif., schools superintendent Dennis Chaconas received a call from the district's chief financial officer telling him that the school district did not have enough cash to meet the next payroll. The only way to meet payroll, the financial officer told Chaconas, was to default on a loan payment, which would put the district in technical insolvency and, ultimately, in bankruptcy.