My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Obvious School Funding Alternatives 

I started a discussion a week ago about the sorry fiscal state my employer is in right now. I've spent a little time looking around for alternatives since then, and, frankly, the options are few. However, there are some pretty smart ideas that would help school districts maximize taxpayer dollars out there.

:build schools using a municipal/capital lease--have a private company build the school, and own it for a set period of time (say, 25 years); during that time, the school district can lease the builing from the company, and then buys it outright for a bargain price at the end of the lease contract

:private service contract for renovations--in this model, the private company assumes ownership of the facility for a short time; all costs for materials and supplies then becomes a tax break for the company, and the district gets to save substantially on the difference between a private contractor getting a job and having to send out in-house people to get it done.

:another model encourages nonprofit corps to house schools in external facilities like malls and offices; there the savings are realized through housing schools in existing facilities at much cheaper costs.

Obviously, all of these ideas deal with the construction end of school funding, not the operating end. And that is where you see a lot of the dramatic bad numbers on the news--operational deficits.

But if a school district can save money on construction, it can build and upgrade to better facilities that max educational opportunities. And if a district demonstrates to its public that it's being smart with their money, the public will respond through greater support (including, maybe, voting for a mill levy increase).

I'll work more for later on operational funding ideas.

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