Financial Decision-Making

The passage of ESSA ushered in a new era in school finance with its provision for State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to annually report spending by school. This new financial data is an important tool to shape education spending, improve equity, and inform continuous improvement across our educational system. With these new data and the infusion of the largest-ever federal investment in education through the pandemic relief funds, there is important work ahead to support SEA and LEA efforts to collect, examine, display and use financial data to improve outcomes, especially for our neediest students and school communities.

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Financial Decision-Making Working Group

A partnership between the National Center and Edunomics Lab, FiDWiG is a collaboration between SEAs and Regional Centers (RCs) on how to leverage financial transparency for decision-making. The group meets virtually and focuses on strategic leadership through the collection, display and use of financial data to support equity and outcome improvements.

Access FidWig meeting materials

Improving Usefulness of ESSA School-by-School Spending Data

While many states met the ESSA reporting requirements, others are building meaningful displays to help drive usage of the data to improve education. We are tracking whether states are meeting four ESSA requirements as well as other benchmarks to ensure data are complete, useful and useable.

Access the tracker

Learning What Data Displays Drive Productive Conversations

Over the last two years we’ve worked with 26 diverse school districts to understand what data visualizations work to fuel thoughtful conversations among district and school communities on financial strategy and management.

Resources for Financial Decision-Making

This collection includes resources to support SEAs, LEAs, and Regional Centers (RCs) in using data to inform complex finance decisions about how to spend and measure effectiveness of K-12 dollars, including federal relief funds.

CCNetwork Resources

What Can ESSER Spending Data Tell us

There is a lot of interest in tracking Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund spending. Importantly, the information that State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) collect about spending will ultimately shape how the data can be used. During this webinar, National Comprehensive Center partner, Edunomics, shared what they are learning about how states are collecting American Rescue Plan (ARP) spending data, what can be learned from the data, and provide recommendations to improve SEA and LEA data collection efforts.

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ARP Partnership, Assistance, Transformation, and Heightened Support (ARP PATHS)

The U.S. Department of Education and its technical assistance partner the National Comprehensive Center released a new resource to help states share their progress deploying the $122 billion American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds to support safe in-person instruction, address the effects of lost instructional time due to COVID-19, and meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of their students. 

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Reimagining Education
The Reimagining Education: Strategies for Innovative Systems Change paper series spotlights three innovative, evidence-based educational strategies that hold the potential to transform student experiences, leading to additional choices, deeper engagement, and increased preparation for students’ postsecondary opportunities.

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ESSER III Investment Decision Guide
Most school districts and charter schools are receiving significant, one-time revenues through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) grant program. The ESSER III Investment Decision Guide and its companion User and Resource Companion document are designed to guide decision makers through a strategic decision-making process to both effectively use these funds to address the purposes outlined in the ARP legislation and to leverage them in support of related district and school improvement efforts.

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Pushing Educational Boundaries: Student Recommendations for Spending American Rescue Plan Funds
The 2020–21 Illinois Student Advisory Council spent months researching how to use the current influx of COVID-19 education funding to make the biggest impact for students. This recorded webinar, hosted by the Region 9 Comprehensive Center, features their instrumental recommendations to help all students achieve educational success and incorporate student voices in decision-making. 

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Scenario Planning for Learning Recovery

This guide highlights eight steps of the scenario planning process which educators can use as they plan for future educational needs within constraints or disruptions, such as the pandemic. It includes a template that educators can use to complete their own scenario planning.
 

Suggested Citation:

Layland, A. & Corbett, J. (2021). Scenario Planning for Learning Recovery. Rockville, MD: National Comprehensive Center at Westat.
 

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External Resources

Making the Most of Federal Relief Funds

National Center, in partnership with Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University, is hosting a series of webinars focused on how states and districts can make the most of their Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund spending. 

 

CCNetwork Resources

What Can ESSER Spending Data Tell us

There is a lot of interest in tracking Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund spending. Importantly, the information that State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) collect about spending will ultimately shape how the data can be used. During this webinar, National Comprehensive Center partner, Edunomics, shared what they are learning about how states are collecting American Rescue Plan (ARP) spending data, what can be learned from the data, and provide recommendations to improve SEA and LEA data collection efforts.

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ESSER Spending: Connecting Investments and Outcomes

It's been a year since Congress approved the largest-ever one-time investment in public education: ESSER III. And spending has been slow. Now's a good time for SEAs and LEAs to assess current investments and finalize spending plans to do the most for students. During this webinar, National Comprehensive Center partner, Edunomics Lab shared an “investment tool” to help leaders do just that.

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What Do We Know About How ESSER Money is Being Spent, And What Can We Learn From It?

These questions kicked off a webinar hosted by the National Comprehensive Center and presented by Marguerite Roza, Director of Edunomics Lab and David Deschryver, Senior Vice President of Whiteboard Advisors. 

While states are not required to track and report how their ESSER funds are spent publicly, Roza described a number of reasons to do so, including:        

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External Resources

Communicating Financial Data and Decisions

 

 

CCNetwork Resources

Leading Thoughtful Conversations on Resource Equity Using School-by-School Spending Data
This resource guides leaders in using data visualizations to foster thoughtful conversations with different stakeholder groups about financial strategy and management, equity and using dollars to do the most for students.

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Improving School-by-School Spending Data

CCNetwork Resources

School Spending Data: A New National Data Archive
Our nation spends approximately $650 billion per year on our K–12 education system. To understand how those dollars impact students, we need to examine spending where it reaches them: at the school level. The document describes a national data archive that uses all elements of Interstate Financial Reporting (IFR) system, developed by the Edunomics Lab, to present the school-by-school expenditure data required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The School Spending Data Archive further controls for methodological differences between states by adjusting school-by-school per-pupil figures to reflect a set of standardized expenditures.

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New National Data Archive Will Provide Normed, Research-Ready, School-by-School Spending Data

The National Comprehensive Center has published a new resource announcing the development of a School Spending Data Archive. The archive will capture school-by-school spending figures reported by each state (as required by ESSA). The data are being aggregated, normed, and made comparable, publicly accessible, and aligned with other national-scale data sets, including those with student demographics and outcomes.

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Financial Transparency has Arrived! Now What?

Now that most states have released their ESSA-required school-level spending data, State Education Agencies (SEAs) and districts (and policymakers and advocates) want to know how to use these data to make sure our dollars are doing the most for students.

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With first annual reports of school spending data in the rear view, state education agencies look to improve the next round

June 30th was the federal deadline for states to report school-by-school spending data under ESSA’s financial transparency requirement. To date, 44 states and D.C. have released spending data, with the remainder preparing to publish by fall. 

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External Resources