Why a School Finance Blog?

The financing of public and private school systems, and higher education systems for that matter may seem like a rather mundane topic. Actually, it is – on most days. But, every now and then the financing of schools hits the headlines.  In some years, in some states, as the new year approaches and local news outlets review their top news stories of the year, school finance occasionally makes the list – sometimes even coming in first or second (in Vermont in 1997-98 and in Kansas around 2003-04).

And, the topic of school finance can introduce the public to some intriguing public figures, like Shawnee County (KS) district court judge Terry Bullock – http://www.pitch.com/2004-02-19/news/you-got-schooled/.

Occasionally, school finance is even the topic of clever journalism:

Funny Math – http://www.pitch.com/2005-04-14/news/funny-math/

Wussies of Oz – http://www.pitch.com/2005-06-16/news/the-wussies-of-oz/

The purpose of this blog is relatively narrow for the time being. When school finance topics do make the headlines, there are often many “facts” and “figures” and arguments tossed about, usually to make one point or another. Public School Spending is out of control! Administrator salaries are exorbitant! Or, that liberal judge simply made up the facts to come to his predetermined liberal conclusion!

In this blog, I intend to share the best version of the “facts behind the headlines” that I am able to pull together in a reasonable amount of time, with sufficient citation so that you can check it out for yourself. What does the state constitution actually say? Did the Kansas legislature really infuse a ton of new money into schools over the past 10 years. Do the poor urban districts in New Jersey spend ridiculous amounts on administration?

Please leave comments if you agree, disagree, or if you simply want clarification on data or sources used in this blog! Members of the media should contact me before quoting information on this blog out of context.

Thanks, and enjoy!

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