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As New Jersey tentatively reopens K-12 schools after being closed for over five months, many of the state’s child care providers have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to serve the children of essential workers. Throughout this time, providers have been required to observe more restrictive group sizes and child/staff ratios, while also increasing time and resources spent on cleaning and sanitizing, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With unchanged tuition rates, these new standards push many child care providers from an already tight financial situation into one that cannot be sustained. This paper examines the impact of new and existing regulations on child care providers’ revenues and expenditures, and the subsidy rates required to financially sustain child care providers in New Jersey.
This report describes how the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads and why mitigation measures, such as symptom screening, testing, and contact tracing, are recommended for schools. It argues that it will be more difficult for schools with poor condition facilities to effectively implement SARS-CoV-2 mitigation measures. As a result, students and staff attending these schools will face greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
In January 2019, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) held a six-day strike in response to challenges facing The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), resulting from LAUSD’s inability to raise local property taxes and the growing charter school sector that draws funding away from public education. The protest was largely successful, leading to a six percent pay raise for teachers, more nurses, counselors, and librarians in schools, commitments for more green space on campuses, an end to random searches of students, and more. This report examines how UTLA and Reclaim Our Schools Los Angeles (ROSLA) built and carried out the campaign that ultimately led to these changes; this case study can serve as a roadmap for other school districts, labor unions, and community organizations facing similar attacks on public education.
Public school students in the U.S. suffered poorer schools—and local and state taxpayers paid higher taxes—in 2019 due to corporate tax breaks; economic development tax abatements given to corporations cost public school districts at least $2.37 billion in foregone revenue in FY 2019. This report presents case studies from schools in Louisiana, Missouri, New York, South Carolina, and Texas where schools are losing significant revenue to tax abatements. Additionally, this report makes recommendations to these states and offers suggestions to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (BASB); these recommendations include capping the share of each locality’s property and sales tax base that can be abated in the name of economic development, giving school boards control to opt in or out of tax-break deals, requiring all governments that are making abatement agreements to report the costs of such deals to all affected jurisdictions, and more.
Public school districts in South Carolina suffered a sharp increase in lost tax revenue in FY 2019 due to tax breaks granted to private corporations by county governments. The revenues of South Carolina’s school districts are reduced via state permitted programs that grant businesses tax abatements for extremely long periods of time, which could effectively be permanent exemptions. This report offers a variety of policy options to protect the public education system from corporate tax abatements; these include shielding school finance and implementing a county-based disclosure system to ensure that costs and benefits are fully visible for each employer granted an abatement.
Michigan has shifted a total of $4.5 billion intended for K-12 public schools to universities and community colleges since 2010. This cut to K-12 education was not done for the benefit of postsecondary education, but to balance the state budget and compensate for General Fund dollars that are increasingly stretched thin due to tax cuts for businesses. Until K-12 schools and programs are financed at levels recommended by experts and that fulfill statutory requirements, the government should commit to using School Aid Fund dollars only to fund Michigan’s K-12 public schools and programs at adequate levels, funding universities and community colleges at adequate levels using General Fund dollars and other existing appropriate sources, and addressing General Fund shortfalls responsibly by increasing revenue sources rather than shifting educational funds away from their intended purposes
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement 77 requires most state and local government bodies, including school districts, to annually disclose the costs of corporate tax abatements. As a result of the new rule, thousands of America’s public school districts are reporting how much revenue they lose to corporate tax breaks granted in the name of economic development. This report examines the financial reports of more than 5,600 independent school districts and found that some school districts are losing significant sums of vital funding to tax abatements, and that abatement dollars, if redirected, could help restore better-quality education. Additionally, this report recommends that school districts should be mandated to adhere to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and publish their Statement 77 data, and that exclude school revenue from abatements.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are tasked with providing a quality education to their students, along with ensuring their safety and welfare, regardless if classes are being held in-person or virtually. Additionally, schools must adjust to the economic ramifications brought on by the pandemic, such as revenue uncertainty due to school districts being heavily reliant on state pass through revenue and local property taxes, and the need for new expenditures, including personal protective equipment and other items to ensure social distancing. GFOA’s Fiscal First Aid program lays out a 12-step process for recovering from financial distress. This research paper expands upon these fiscal first aid strategies with additional, school-district-specific considerations for mitigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The unchecked expansion of charter schools in California has led to dire fiscal conditions for the public education system, and public school students are bearing the costs. California’s Charter School Act doesn’t allow school boards to consider how a proposed charter school may impact a district’s educational programs when weighing new charter applications. This is the source of the issue that plagues California’s school districts. To resolve this issue, each school district should produce an annual Economic Impact report assessing the cost of charter expansion in its community, and more targeted analyses should be a required component in the evaluation of new charter applications. Further, public officials at both the local and state levels must be able to take these findings into account when deciding whether to authorize additional charter schools. These two policies can work together to make charter schools work better for the state, school districts, and its students.