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December 6, 2007

Making Better Use of Limited (Financial) Resources

Wisconsin Center for Education Research:

The Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) has documented a steady increase in per-pupil education funding in the U.S. over the past 100 years. After adjusting for inflation, education funds have risen on average about 3.5% annually. UW-Madison education professor Odden says the consistent rise in spending has not, however, been accompanied by a similar rise in student performance, at least over the past 30 to 40 years.

Current education goals are thus not likely to be met without determining how better to use school resources.

Today, about 60% of the education dollar is spent on instruction. Another 10% is spent on administration, 10% on instructional and pupil support, 10% on operations and maintenance, 5% on transportation, and 5% on food and miscellaneous items. Odden says this pattern is similar across districts, regardless of demographics and enrollment.

To align resources with strategies for improving student achievement, Odden suggests thinking of education spending as divided into three “portions”:

  • One portion for core instructional services, professional development, and site administration;
  • A second portion for instructional and pupil support services, which help the education system accomplish the goal of student achievement in the core subjects; and
  • A third portion for overhead (school operation and maintenance, transportation, food services, and central office administration).
Much more on Allen Odden. Related: K-12 Tax & Spending Climate:

Posted by Jim Zellmer at December 6, 2007 3:00 AM
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