Assessing the financial health of US K-12 public school systems

It’s no secret that funding for US public education has not recovered as fast as the US economy since the Great Recession. What has received less attention, however, is how individual school systems have fared throughout this historic period of financial instability.

In Assessing the financial health of US K-12 public school systems, Parthenon-EY Managing Directors Haven Ladd and Phil Vaccaro present five key indicators of a district’s financial health:

  1. Unassigned general fund balance
  2. Change in unassigned fund balance
  3. 3-year growth in revenues vs. 3-year growth in expenditures
  4. 3-year change in enrollment
  5. Funded ratio of main teacher pension plan

The authors use these five key indicators to provide a glimpse at the financial health of almost every school district in the US. They also pose questions for districts to consider as they’re developing strategies to improve their financial position.

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