Finance and Funding - Resources for More Information
School funding is an important and contentious issue. The great variance between school districts makes it difficult to find accurate information about how your school receives and uses its money. Here is a list of resources to help you find more information about school funding.
The Federal Department of Education
Although the federal government does not generally set education policy, they distribute billions of dollars to school districts each year. The Department of Education is responsible for disbursing these funds. It also oversees the National Center for Education Statistics , or NCES, which records and compiles data on school expenditures and performance.
State Departments of Education
States are responsible for distributing state tax dollars to individual school districts, and may set some school curricula. Most state departments have information on how those funds are collected and allocated. Use this list to find your state's Department of Education's contact information. In addition, the National Association of State Boards of Education collects important information on which kinds of policies have the greatest impact on pupils.
Local governments are responsible for collecting property taxes, which play a large role in funding school systems. They may also play a role in creating curricula, hiring administrators, hiring teachers, and directing the allocation of funds. Some important sources of local school funding information include:
- The Local Education Authority: Usually this is known as the "Board of Education" or "School Board." These boards are typically made up of elected officials and make important decisions regarding school policies and budgets.
- Your City's Department of Finance or Treasury: This department is responsible for sending money to the school districts, and most likely keeps records on the historical disbursements.
- Parent Organizations and Booster Clubs: Many school districts rely on community support to help them pay for special projects. People involved with these organizations may have additional insight into how school funding decisions are made.
- Public Libraries: Libraries often keep public records, including local finance and budget records. Ask your local librarian for information on your districts school funding decisions.