Productive K-12 Spending Ideas in Award-Winning Book and Citizens' Budget

Last December I suggested to you four education reform books as stocking stuffer ideas. One of the books on the list was an important volume edited by Frederick Hess and Eric Osberg, titled Stretching the School Dollar: How Schools and Districts Can Save Money While Serving Students Best.

In September my Education Policy Center friends have been busy briefing school board candidates from numerous Colorado districts about a broad range of reform issues. At the forefront of nearly all local officials’ minds is the fact that once plush and growing revenues for K-12 education have faced some modest cutbacks, forcing many to re-think how schooling can be done more productively.

Stretching the School Dollar is an immensely practical resource for aspiring school board directors and the leaders they hire. In that light, it’s exciting to see The Education Gadfly report that the book has been nominated as a finalist for the Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network’s “Most Actionable Research” award. “Most Actionable,” indeed!

Bring it closer to home, and you can find some ideas to save Colorado dollars in K-12 education and promote freedom, choice and competition at the same time. It may not be nominated for any national awards, but just take a peek at my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow’s chapter for the 2010 Citizens’ Budget publication to see what I mean.

Let’s be frank, everyone. The time for belt-tightening in school districts is real, and it may be here awhile. But there are a lot of opportunities to re-think how the business of education is done with resources somewhat more scarce than they have been. As DeGrow very recently told American Family Radio News in response to Colorado’s tax-hiking Proposition 103 on the ballot:

“Studies overwhelmingly show that there’s no connection between increased spending and results in the classroom,” the policy analyst notes. “So what needs to be done is looking at innovative ways to use the dollars that are already there.”

Bingo. Better find a copy of Stretching the School Dollar and the K-12 chapter of the Citizens’ Budget and get to work….