In our 2010 report, we advocated for reviewing how funds are distributed to individual schools and programs, stating: “Clear, consistent, and comparable data on per-pupil expenditures at the school, district, and state level is critical to understanding whether state funds appropriately address student need and school results.”
Because investing intelligently is a key lever for closing the achievement gap while raising academic achievement, CCER is collaborating with Education Resource Strategies and a team of summer fellows to perform school district funding analysis project for Waterbury Public Schools, which is designed to help the school district understand how its financial resources are being spent.
I am one of three summer fellows working on this project. I am pursuing a Masters in Public Policy at the Batten School of Public Policy at the University of Virginia. The other fellows working on the project are: Lorén Trull, J.D., who is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and Sam Cross, a 2011 Teach for America Corps member, who holds a B.S., Economics from Cornell University. We will be utilizing methodology and tools provided by ERS, a non-profit consulting firm that works with leaders of public school systems to rethink the use of district and school-level resources. Headquartered in Boston, ERS has worked with school districts across the country to rethink education resources at the district level. We will use their guidance and considerable expertise to generate insights into how resources are currently allocated amongst Waterbury’s schools, and how the use of funds in Waterbury compares to school districts across the nation and within Connecticut. The insights of this analysis will provide the district’s leaders with an opportunity to view their resources holistically and consider funding trade-offs, empowering the district to intelligently invest in its most important priorities.
Since its inception, CCER has worked to raise public awareness about Connecticut’s achievement gap, advocate for education policies and reforms, and collaborate with the State Department of Education and district leaders to support the implementation of policies at the local level. We are excited about working with Waterbury Schools as “change partners” for this project, and we commend them for their willingness to rethink how resource allocation can enable the district to achieve transformational change.