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School Budget Report for School District of Philadelphia: 2008-2009

In the fall of 2007, Education Resource Strategies (ERS) was invited by Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission to conduct a Resource Use Analysis for the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) that would in part inform a possible transition to weighted student funding. In January 2009, ERS resumed the work with SDP under the direction of Michael Masch, the new Chief Business Officer. This report presents the results of ERS’ work between 2007 and 2009.

Key Findings:

  • Transparency: SDP has clarified how the existing school budget process works and improved reporting
  • Budget Impact: Key budget processes limit the ability of school leaders to staff schools around a coherent instructional vision
  • Spending Comparison: Compared to other urban districts, SDP overhead is low but Operations & Maintenance (O&M) costs are high because SDP runs too many schools.
  • Distribution Across Schools: Despite recent district efforts, many of the neediest schools receive fewer resources per pupil than other SDP schools
  • Spending Difference Drivers: Spending differences across SDP schools are driven primarily by size and inaccurate enrollment projections

School Budget Report for School District of Philadelphia (PDF)


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