How much does it cost to provide every student with an opportunity to earn a high-quality public education? The question is one of the most debated in the world of education reform. Following are some publications and organizations that work to address the issue. We will continue to add new content, so come back again soon.


They spend WHAT? The real cost of public education
Policy Analysis | Adam B. Schaeffer | Cato Institute | March 2010
Although public schools are usually the biggest item in state and local budgets, spending figures provided by public school officials and reported in the media often leave out major costs of education and thus understate what is actually spent. 

School District Consolidation is a Red Herring
Article | Nathan A. Benefield, Fred D. Baldwin | Commonwealth Foundation | August 2009
"In his budget address, Gov. Rendell called on lawmakers to form a commission to study the issue of consolidating school districts, and present recommendations. He seems to have forgotten that the General Assembly commissioned a study on school district consolidation a mere two years ago. This study concluded that school district consolidation would not be much of a cost saver."

Public Education Finances: 2007
Report | U.S. Census Bureau | July 2009
This report includes revenues, expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) of elementary and secondary public school systems. The tables include spending on instruction, special education, school lunches, transportation, salaries, support services and building maintenance, among others. These data are available in viewable tables and downloadable files.

Weighted Student Formula Yearbook
Yearbook | Reason Foundation | Lisa Snell | April 2009
Using weighted student formula’s decentralized system, education funds are attached to each student and the students can take that money directly to the public school of their choice. At least 15 major school districts have moved to this system of backpack funding. Reason Foundation's new Weighted Student Formula Yearbook examines how the budgeting system is being implemented in each of these places and, based on the real-world data, offers a series of “best practices” that other districts and states can follow to improve the quality of their schools.

Facing the Future: Financing Productive Schools
Report | Center on Reinventing Public Education |Paul T. Hill, Marguerite Roza, James Harvey | December 2008
School finance today works against the focused and efficient use of resources to promote student learning. We need a new model that focuses on one thing: ensuring that every child learns what she needs to become an involved citizen and full participant in a modern economy.

Fund the Child: Tackling Inequity and Antiquity in School Finance
Report | Thomas B. Fordham Institute |Numerous signatories | June 2006
This proposal’s signatories call on policymakers to transform the school funding system in service of meeting our high ambitions for student learning. We envision a transparent system in which: funding from all levels follows every student to whatever public school he or she attends; the amount varies according to the student’s needs; funding arrives at schools as real dollars that can be spent flexibly, with accountability gauged by results rather than inputs, programs, or activities.


Downsizing the Federal Government | Education
Sponsored by the Cato Institute, on this site you’ll find all you need to know about what must be done to cut federal education policy down to size.