Teacher and administrator’s perceptions about financing education from kindergarten to the end of secondary education

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Findings from the first annual Allovue Education Finance Survey indicate that education professionals have differing experiences, perspectives, and knowledge gaps related to key issues in financing K-12 education, including the general financial well-being of their district, salaries of teachers, and school administrators. . level of control over their school budgets.

The survey was commissioned by Allovue, a K-12 education finance company, and conducted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan EdWeek Research Center. The survey was conducted among 1,303 teachers, principals, assistant principals, and district leaders in the United States in November and December 2022.

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The study introduces Allovue’s Education Spending Confidence Index, a new measure that takes the pulse of the opinions of educators and officials about the financial health of employers. With unprecedented federal investments in K-12 education during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people might think that schools are in a strong financial position. However, our findings show that education leaders view school and district finances in a more negative light: on a scale from -100 (worst financial condition and outlook) to +100 (best financial condition and outlook), the average score of respondents was -38. At a time of seemingly abundant new resources, why do education professionals see resource challenges?

Some of the reasons respondents gave to explain their negative scores include the belief that federal COVID relief funds were often more inadequate than transformative; concerns that financing has not kept up with inflation; The feeling that spending per pupil is increasing because today’s students have higher levels of needs than their predecessors.

The report also delves into notions and misconceptions about teacher salaries.

When asked what they thought would be a fair annual salary for the work they do, the teachers set a median wage of $80,000, an amount comparable to the average gross income of American workers with similar educational levels. However, survey results indicate limited levels of awareness of the total cost of hiring teachers. These expenses include not only salaries, but also benefits, which cost roughly half the average teacher’s salary.

One common idea for teachers is to pay teachers more money by spending less on administrators. However, this change has limited potential to increase teachers’ salaries since there are more teachers than administrators. Even if all central office managers in the country were eliminated, the cost savings would only be sufficient to provide the average teacher with a 2 per cent pay increase—much less than what educators would be necessary to obtain a fair wage. Most districts will need additional resources if they are going to raise teachers’ salaries anywhere close to the level that teachers think is fair given the demands of their jobs.

Finally, the report examines the degree to which the officials closest to the classroom (the principals) are allowed to make decisions about their schools’ budget. Survey results indicate that principals control only a small minority of their budgets (7 to 8 percent). Although most say they should have more budgetary autonomy, only a minority of officials in the central office agree, making that unlikely to happen anytime soon.

The report concludes with recommendations to address knowledge gaps for practitioner, parents, policy maker, and taxpayers about K-12 school financing.