States already had long-term problems funding education

This blog post originally appeared on the Education Innovating blog run by Education Evolving from 2010 to 2011. It has now been merged into our main blog.

One effect of the recent stimulus-bill funding for K-12 has been to create an impression that schools are suffering today because of the economic down turn. This is true. But the downturn is not the sole reason for their financial pains…nor is it the principal reason.

Like most states Minnesota has been experiencing substantial budget shortfalls dating back to before the credit crunch began. In this video Education|Evolving partner Dan Loritz describes to a Minneapolis’ KARE 11 News how growing claims on state budgets will continue to squeeze schooling for years to come. Costs were rising faster than growth in the economy generally for the past two decades, he argues, and are compounded now by the economic downtown. This is not sustainable, and calls into question the design of schools. “We’re going to need to rethink how we do this.”

Some schools being created in innovation zones are already rethinking their costs. Where traditional central administrators aren’t the only ones determining school budgets, new spending patterns are emerging. If these can help students learn for less, or with different revenue allocations, then we should be paying close attention to them. Check back Friday for an example.

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