Other states getting tough about school spending oversight

Maybe it’s time for Kentucky to do the same

Education Week reports that a number of states such as Maryland, Oklahoma, Washington and Kansas are starting to raise questions and even call for investigations into how state education dollars are actually being spent.

Some of this is being encouraged by new requirements to show accurate per pupil spending amounts for all schools.

Certainly, we have never had really accurate and comparable per pupil spending reports for Kentucky’s schools. For example, in 2015-16 the Kentucky School Report Cards “Data Sets” Excel spreadsheet for LEARNING_ENVIRONMENT_STUDENTS_TEACHERS shows the Payneville Elementary School in Meade County supposedly spent only a ridiculously low $120 per pupil. The state average that year was over $10,000 per pupil. Clearly, the Payneville number is just flat wrong, but it is about the only school level funding data you can find.

By the way, the LEARNING_ENVIRONMENT_STUDENTS_TEACHERS Excel spreadsheet for 2016-17 doesn’t even have entries in the per pupil spending column, possibly because I suggested to the Kentucky Department of Education that if they can’t get the numbers close to credible, they are probably better off not publishing anything.

In any event, if our educators cannot accurately tell us the overall total amount of money we are spending per student in each school, we clearly have a problem that needs more investigation. Our educators keep saying they need more money, but how can they know that if they don’t seem to even know how much they are getting now?

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