81st Annual Meeting: June 21-24, 2013 in Las Vegas

U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS PRIORITIES FOR SMARTER SPENDING ON OUR CITIESí SCHOOLS

WHEREAS, our country, through the federal, state, and local governments, invests over $500 billion each year in elementary and secondary education; and

WHEREAS, unfortunately, due to the limited expenditure data collected, we cannot always be sure this educational funding is being spent in the most efficient or effective way to support student learning; and

WHEREAS, to increase student achievement, schools must increase their use of data to make informed budgetary decisions and to maximize the benefit of every dollar they receive; and

WHEREAS, few states effectively identify the schools and districts that serve as exemplary financial stewards, spending taxpayer dollars wisely; or provide assistance to schools and districts whose financial practices are unsound; and

WHEREAS, increased spending transparency will empower parents, taxpayers, and all community members to be strong advocates for their own children and those in their community, and to hold school districtís elected officials accountable for success; and

WHEREAS, despite the data gaps, we know that the existing distribution of state funding is not sufficiently focused on student need and does not ensure that every child at every school in every neighborhood is given the same opportunity to learn; and

WHEREAS, existing rules tied to state funding further restrict, rather than empower, teachers, principals, and local school leaders looking to create innovative programs and strategies to meet the diverse needs of their students,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the development of smarter school finance systems that are student-focused, and that promote flexibility, transparency, and accountability in the use of public resources; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the following policy priorities for the K-12 education finance system in each state:

             Resources should be allocated through transparent and fair funding formulas, such as weighted student funding, that fund students at each school, regardless of the public school model, based on student need rather than on outdated mandates; and

             Innovation and efficiency should be encouraged and incentivized by providing permanent flexibility to public school districts in how they utilize funding provided to them; and

             School principals, as the leaders closest to kids, should have full authority to set budgets and to make staffing and operational decisions at their individual schools; and

             To ensure that spending supports student learning, states should develop data systems that link academic achievement to spending data at the school level; and

             To hold schools accountable for results, states should develop standardized rating systems that measure spending efficiency & effectiveness; and

             To ensure transparency and accessibility, states should develop reporting systems that promote community awareness and dialogue around education spending; and

             Establish meaningful supports for struggling district and charter schools that are not spending funds efficiently and/or effectively.

Projected Cost: Unknown.


RESOLUTION ADOPTED JUNE 2013