Posted inNews

Short on financial knowledge, some school districts get bad deals on bonds

This story about school bonds is part of the series Districts in Debt, which examines the hidden financial pressures challenging American schools. The state audit of the Fox C-6 School District in the small town of Arnold, Missouri, was brutal. It revealed a slew of financial missteps: The superintendent and administrators had been giving themselves raises and using […]

Posted inDistricts in DebtElementary to High SchoolNews

How rising teacher pension costs hurt school districts

This story about teacher pensions is part of the series Districts in Debt, which examines the hidden financial pressures challenging American schools. COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Glenn Gustafson was already bracing for a rough Valentine’s Day. Looming on his calendar was a sure-to-be-wrenching meeting to cut $10 million in spending from the Colorado Springs School District’s […]

Posted inHigher Ed

DEBT WITHOUT DEGREE: State cuts money to higher education while student costs skyrocket

SPECIAL REPORT Hundreds of thousands of young people borrow money from the federal government every year to pay for school, hoping that the job prospects that come with a bachelor’s degree will be worth the investment. But many students, even those choosing the most affordable option — state public colleges and universities — drop out, […]

Posted inElementary to High SchoolMississippiNews

Are state takeovers fixing Mississippi’s failing districts?

HAZLEHURST, Miss. — When the state took control of the Hazlehurst City school district in 2008, the small rural district was in chaos and suffering from abysmal academic performance. Student folders had gaps where grades and attendance records should have been. District personnel reports listed one employee as holding five different positions, including assistant superintendent, […]

Posted inCaliforniaElementary to High SchoolNews

Controversial school bonds create ‘debt for the next generation’

Herb Calderon stood on the campus of Hillcrest High School, staring at a wall that cost $10 million to build. The mile-long barrier was constructed to prevent the hillside above from sliding into the new school during a heavy storm. The state-of-the-art campus with its extravagant sculpted concrete wall, he said, has helped upgrade the image of the downtrodden district.