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This service provides online check payment and credit card processing for food and after-school activities in public schools. With customizable reporting, CHECKredi can be used to consolidate and reconcile returned checks. It also provides other payment solutions through ACH (automated clearinghouse) processing and online credit card payments and approvals.

Reader Testimony: 

“With turning over to CheckRedi the responsibility of handling returned checks, not only are we able to recoup the income that school districts dearly need, but we are able to use the time saved to serve our teachers better and, of course, this filters down to helping our students.”

—Wanda Parker, financial officer, Nelson County Schools, Ky.

Superintendent Jim McIntyre interacts with Knox County elementary school students.

Knox County Schools is a flourishing district in Tennessee, with most of its 15 high schools having graduation rates above 90 percent. Within the last five years, the district has also has also seen modest gains in reading/language arts, math, science, and social studies as measured by the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests for grades 3 through 8.

School districts working to close budget gaps are increasingly requiring parents to pay fees for their children’s textbooks, lab materials, computers, and after-school activities.

It’s a regrettable but widespread trend, says Bruce Hunter, associate executive director of advocacy, policy and communications at the School Superintendents Association. “The recession lasted longer and cut deeper than anyone thought it would,” Hunter says. “Districts try to charge as little as possible, because it’s not popular. It’s a last resort.”

Most districts won’t feel the impact of sequester cuts for another year. But Silver Valley (Calif.) USD is already facing the harsh reality of nearly $500,000 in funding cuts this year alone.

Pay to play has become the new normal at many public high schools strapped for cash. And while the practice is prohibited in such states as California, it has taken hold in others. “Our community seemed to understand the value of strong athletic programs,” says Chris Bigelow, director of student services for the Northshore School District in Bothell, Wash., which instituted participation fees several years ago after state budget cuts. “Every student who desires participation in our sports program has the opportunity” for scholarships who can’t afford it, he adds.

The glory days of high school sports are no longer reserved for dream team athletes, as athletic directors are increasingly opening up sports to all students, regardless of ability, and seeing winning results on the field and off. 

Budget cuts may have a large impact on federally funded education programs.

Many states nationwide are taking steps to strengthen their charter school systems by enacting laws that make it easier to create schools and provide funding, according to a new report.

The fourth annual analysis “Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter School Laws” from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), a national nonprofit committed to advancing the charter school movement, is designed to support the creation of high-quality public charter school options, especially for at-risk students.

In the last 60 years, America’s K12 public school system has experienced far greater growth in employing administrators and non-teaching staff than employing teachers or students, a new report found. This growth occurred in virtually all 50 states, and did not correspond to increased student achievement.

Implementing the Common Core represents the biggest change to K12 assessment systems since No Child Left Behind, leading to concerns over the costs of enacting these new standards and tests. A report from the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution provides first-of-its kind, comprehensive and up-to-date information on assessment system costs nationwide to help states predict spending under the Common Core.