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By Design Not Default

Optimizing District Spending on Small High Schools

School districts across the country are redesigning their portfolios of high schools to include more small high schools. Over the past three years, Education Resource Strategies (ERS), with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, partnered with both schools and districts to understand spending in small high schools and document how these schools leverage all of their resources—people, time, and money—to best support student learning. ERS’s work demonstrated a clear and consistent pattern: districts spent 10-20% more per pupil on small high schools than they did on large high schools, for two primary reasons:

  • Small high schools tended to be staffed and run like large high schools
  • Districts deliberately awarded additional staff to small schools above required staffing levels (Frank & Feinberg, 2008)

This report explains why this is happening and how schools can optimize their spending on small schools.

By Design Not Default (PDF)

By Design Not Default Tear Sheets-Going to Scale Overview (PDF)

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