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Study Recap: Costs, Concerns, & Calls for Clarity in K-12 Finance

Grow Schools

June 7, 2024

graphic breakdown of the top answers to what districts would cut in their budgets were reduced. data is from the annual EdWeek Education Finance Study

It’s no secret that schools across the US are facing some serious financial hurdles right now. With the end of federal COVID relief funding looming large on the horizon, coupled with a myriad of ongoing financial challenges, many schools find themselves teetering on the edge of what feels like a fiscal cliff.

ESSER funds were a lifeline for schools, allocated based on factors like the percentage of students from low-income families. But now, with the program’s impending termination, schools are scrambling to fund positions, pivot creatively, and use the remaining funds effectively.

To shed some light on these challenges, Allovue launched an annual Education Finance Survey in collaboration with the EdWeek Research Center. Teachers, school leaders, and district leaders from all corners of the country chimed in to share their experiences and insights. A total of 1,855 educators responded to the 2023 survey, including 467 district leaders, 592 school leaders, and 796 teachers.

Key Findings

If tasked with implementing immediate budget reductions to address current financial challenges, school and district leaders prefer cutting spending on reserves, professional development, and/or extracurricular activities.

Regarding the impact of the cessation of federal COVID stimulus funding on their ability to provide essential resources for a high-quality education that meets all students’ needs, 41 percent of school and district leaders anticipate a somewhat negative impact, while 32 percent foresee a very or extremely negative impact.

The study cites a middle school math teacher in South Dakota who expressed concern about job security, stating, “My job is funded with COVID dollars. I will not have this job at the end of the school year unless COVID money is renewed.” However, the discontinuation of federal COVID funding is not the sole factor straining district budgets. Changing demographics, cited by 55 percent of respondents, continue to be the most frequently cited cause, with current students demonstrating higher levels of need compared to previous cohorts.

Post-ESSER Resources for Schools

The findings from the survey indicate that a significant number of administrators face challenges due to a lack of adequate resources—such as modern budgeting software or access to professional development opportunities covering topics like forecasting and long-term planning. If you’re looking for resources, we’ve got you covered.

Browse the free resources below or reach out to our team to explore funding options—we’re always just an email away.

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