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Capacity Building - Finance


Financing Community Schools: Leveraging Resources to Support Student Success

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In a period of challenging economic conditions, the Coalition releases a new report, Financing Community Schools: Leveraging Resources to Support Student Success.  This report is timely in an era Secretary Arne Duncan refers to as "the new normal," a time when states and school districts are making hard choices about which programs to fund, which schools to keep open, and which staff to employ.  Despite these challenges, Duncan adds that "the new normal" also offers new opportunities for us to rethink how we spend our scarce resources to maximize results for children through collaboration.
 
This report demonstrates that collaboration is at the heart of the community school strategy.  Schools and community partners, including youth development, community planning and development, institutions of higher education, family support, government, and philanthropies are pooling their resources, are leveraging new resources, and are collaborating to avoid service duplication. 
 
The report finds that community schools have organized themselves to address constant financial challenges by breaking down funding silos and leveraging resources to support students. The Coalition surveyed and interviewed community school leaders across seven established initiatives about how they finance their strategy.  Leaders were asked to complete a funding matrix that answered what programmatic and structural areas initiatives funded, where funding came from, and how much funding was dedicated to each area.  The findings are clear: community schools efficiently leverage dollars to support student learning and their families.
 
Specifically, the report highlights the following findings:

  1. Community schools use the bulk of their resources to directly assist schools in meeting their core instructional mission, while also strengthening the health and well-being of students, families and neighborhoods.
  2.  Diversified funding in community schools leverages district dollars 3:1.
  3. Collaborative leadership structures support finance and other key functions at the site and system level.
  4.  A mix of public and private sector partners expands financial, as well as technical and political capacity.
  5.  Full-time site coordination contributes essential site level capacity at minimal cost.


As Secretary Duncan stated, "Working together, with candor, courage, and commitment, I believe the New Normal can be a wake-up call to America--and a time to rethink how we invest in education for our nation's children."  Community schools continue to lead the nation in demonstrating how schools and communities work together to maximize results for children and families.

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