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Journal Issue: Financing Schools Volume 7 Number 3 Winter 1997

How and Where the Education Dollar Is Spent
David H. Monk John C. Pijanowski Samin Hussain


Locally elected school boards have the authority and responsibility to decide how school budgets will be spent. In doing so, however, they must balance multiple funding restrictions and competing priorities. Despite great variance in local circumstances, most school districts have remarkably similar spending patterns, generally allocating from 60% to 63% of their budget to instruction and dividing the remainder among student services such as health services, counseling, and speech therapy; administration; building operation and maintenance; and food services and transportation.

Polls show that many districts are attempting to delegate more decisions over resource allocation to the school site level. Research is just beginning to show what aspects of school site decision making are associated with improved teaching and learning.