On average, states spend nearly $10,700 per student for education purposes—but how much of that money goes into each student’s district, school, and classroom? Given how most states currently report school spending, the public can’t find answers to these most basic questions. In 2018, state advocates are pushing for legislative solutions to increase transparency.
Through state legislation, several advocacy organizations have been applying pressure to ensure school finance data is reported in a way that is transparent and understandable to parents, and can meaningfully inform policymaking.
Educators for Excellence-Minnesota is advocating for the legislature to make the funding system more transparent and equitable. A team of E4E educator members published a report with recommendations on how to improve the funding system, including increased transparency on school-level spending. During the legislative session, the group launched a campaign in favor of a bill to audit the school funding system because the “opaque system leaves many of our most disadvantaged students with inadequate resources for their education.” Executive director Madaline Edison testified in front of the Minnesota State House Finance Committee, and this recommendation was recently sent to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
The Rodel Foundation of Delaware and DelawareCAN have been advocating for the passage of SB 172, which Rodel called “a monumental foot in the door for addressing Delaware’s arcane school funding system.” The bill would establish a statewide approach for reporting school level expenditures and require reporting of the school data to include context, such as school type, demographics, and outcomes.
Oklahoma Achieves supported efforts to pass HB 2860, a fiscal transparency bill that requires school districts to post their financial data on the home page of their website, making it easier for parents and community leaders to access the information. Governor Fallin recently signed the bill, drawing applause from Oklahoma Achieves.
If you’d like to connect with any of the groups above, reach out.