Local School Funding – The Key to Success

This blog is not really about budget related items so much today. While I know that budget is a hot topic, strategic district education delivery really drives the long-term budget. What do we do with the district over 3-5 years.

I think that one thing that we can all agree on is that the more money that flows into a school, the higher level of services that can be provided. State(know as BEP), County, and Federal Funds make up the lion share of funding sources. Just for grins, let’s just use an example of a couple of schools:

Dogwood Elementary in German town. 600 current students as of 3 months ago.

600 students x 9,300(Avg taken from TN Department of Education) = $5,580,000

West wood Elementary in Memphis. 293 students

293 students x 11,250(Taken from TN Department of Education) = $3,296,250

These number may be off a little but the are ballpark. Dogwood has few Title One students while West wood is almost all title one

.

What kind of school could you run for 5.6 or 3.3 M million dollars per year? In a perfect world, you would have strong administrators whom understand the unique needs of the school and can tailor the educational programs and staffing formulas to find the OPTIMUM level. The principal is empowered to recruit and compensate teachers. Hire and fire grounds maintenance and plant managers, etc. Set educational goals and benchmarks to meet state standards. Provide training to teachers. Offer APEX, clue, IB or whatever their vision is for the school.

This is at the very core of the matter for every one of us. We want our teachers and administrators and programs. even on the broader sense if you have a municipal school district you still have money leveled across the district instead of level at the child in the school.(although it is a more local, more efficient model)

From my viewpoint, if we are going to maximize investment into children while keeping costs down, then we must support those school models that pass through the most dollars to the local schools and empower them accordingly. This is not a question of adequate funding. It is a question of where the funding is going.

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