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Articles: Budget

Pre-K programs for students with special needs vary widely in quality and scope. Some states and districts have long included students with special needs in pre-K classes alongside their more typically developing peers.

SCHOOLS SOURCE: Pew Research Center, "Overall Number of U.S. Immigrants Holds Steady Since 2009"

School districts in Los Angeles and other sanctuary cities are bracing for an impact from President Trump’s executive order to withhold federal support from sanctuary cities.

Metro Nashville Public Schools has 25 data specialists and managers considering data. Even one person focused on data is a step forward. (GettyImages.com: Alex Doubovitsky)

K12 education lags behind U.S. business and industry when it comes to using data to improve outcomes, says a 2016 report by the Center for Data Innovation.

SEAT BELTS MAKE THEM SIT—New Hanover County Schools in North Carolina is adding seat belts to some buses as part of a state study. Ken Nance, transportation director, says just having students staying put in their seats reduces distractions to bus drivers, two of whom are pictured above.

More districts are adding seat belts to their bus fleets, following the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s 2015 recommendation that “every child on every school bus” needs a seat belt. 

Interest in virtual reality is becoming an increasing reality in public schools as ed-tech companies offer more cost-effective devices.

As we face a new year with a new president, Newsletter Editor Ariana Fine looked back on 2016 to consider the biggest and most influential stories in K12 education. 

James Sullivan is a director in the dispute advisory practice at Sikich LLP, and is the former inspector general for the Chicago Board of Education.

Even as school districts try to allocate more resources for the classroom, state and local financial struggles limit available funds and increase the pressure on districts to get more done with less. Still, at a time when financial responsibility should be paramount, misconduct remains far too common.

The number of children enrolled in schools has risen by about 1.1 million since the recession. (Click to enlarge)

Schools still feel the effects of post-recession budget cuts eight years after the economic crisis reached its zenith. A study by the Center on Budget and Policy Studies showed that 25 states in 2014 were spending less per student than before the recession.

Superintendent Michael Kuzniewski has increased graduation, testing and proficiency rates.

For decades, the J. Sterling Morton High School District in the Chicago suburbs was in bad shape. In 2008, when Michael Kuzniewski became superintendent, he vowed to change all that, with help from a new school board.

This past summer, a number of districts broke ground and got to work . (Photo: Gettyimages.com/martin barraud)

Districts and government agencies spend nearly $50 billion every year on school construction projects across the U.S.

This past summer, a number of districts broke ground and got to work while many others, with their projects still in the planning phase, approved funds for new buildings, upgrades and repairs.

The Lafayette Parish School System was granted E-Rate funds to fully upgrade the district and to provide 1-to-1 devices to students by 2020.

E-Rate funds kept at least one district connected to the internet through testing—and opened the door for a 1-to-1 initiative rolling out this fall.

The Lafayette Parish School System in Louisiana used to restrict internet access, only granting certain streaming websites to teachers by request. For example, music teachers would be the only ones with access to streaming music—locking out others in the district. And during state testing, schools would disable streaming to ensure exams were not affected.

Glenn E. Gustafson is chief financial officer and Jessica Reijgers is employee benefits manager for Colorado Springs District 11.

School districts have struggled for many years with the escalating cost of healthcare. Do you have to reduce benefits to be affordable? Do you have to shift costs between the district and the employee? Is there a better way? In Colorado Springs School District 11, we think we have found one.

Kits to books: Just a few items that a fifth-grade math and science teacher  at River Valley Elementary in the West Ada School District received from crowdfunding sites.

While auditing New Hanover County Schools in North Carolina, Nancy Braswell noticed assets coming into the district from unfamiliar sources. When she investigated, Braswell found that teachers were turning to a variety of companies and nonprofits to help fund classroom resources through social media.

Big high school football stadiums in Texas have come under scrutiny from local fiscal watchdogs, but pushback is just part of the story about sports facility finance—where expenditures and potential revenue sources have grown more complex and potentially lucrative.

Plan divides the schools into an “old” district—a legal entity which will pay down debt over time—and a new debt-free district known as the Detroit Public Schools Community District, which will be given a $150 million startup loan from the state.

A 2014 study from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory examined five districts using propane in their bus fleets, and some saved nearly 50 percent on a cost-per-mile basis for fuel and maintenance. (Photo: Gettyimages.com/Leekris)

Transitioning to eco-friendly propane school buses may help districts save money and safeguard student health. A propane bus costs about $15,000 more than a diesel vehicle, but is less expensive to operate and maintain.

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