Districts in Debt

America’s school districts owe more than $400 billion in debt, a number that has grown rapidly in the last decade. The system is rife with inequities and the hidden financial pressures districts face can end up having a big impact on classrooms and kids.

When school districts can’t raise funds for facilities

In states where schools have to raise most of the money for buildings on their own, sharp inequities exist between districts with a strong tax base and those without

School districts are going into debt to keep up with technology

In Silicon Valley, cash-strapped schools are selling bonds to buy student laptops

Students move between floors at Whitmore Lake High School, a spacious facility that is under capacity as enrollment has steadily declined in recent years.

When school districts fall into debt and can’t get out

Students and communities often pay the price

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

Districts can fall prey to financial firms that put their own interests first

How rising teacher pension costs hurt school districts

States try to rescue their pension systems from bankruptcy, leaving less money for classrooms and teacher pay