Editorials

So how much teacher inspiration does $100,000 buy?

Cahokia School Superintendent Art Ryan

Art Ryan, superintendent of Cahokia School District 187, breaks down spending requirements of the Title I federal funds. Depending on the amount of Title I funding a school district receives, Ryan said, the district may have to pay up to 20 percen
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Art Ryan, superintendent of Cahokia School District 187, breaks down spending requirements of the Title I federal funds. Depending on the amount of Title I funding a school district receives, Ryan said, the district may have to pay up to 20 percen

If you had $100,000 to spend on your school, what would be your top priority? Would you spend $100,000 on guest speakers?

Well, Cahokia School District 187 did. But it did so because the feds said it must spend the money that way.

Cahokia has a lot of poor students, so they receive more than $3 million from the federal Title I program to improve educational outcomes for the disadvantaged students. The rules call for them to spend about $150,000 on professional development, or rather, teaching teachers to teach better.

Cahokia Superintendent Art Ryan was asked whether it was tough to spend that much money: “Yes, to be honest.”

Cahokia spent about $100,000 on guest speakers, but Belleville Elementary District 118 spent nothing on speakers. They still did professional development.

“On institute days we have a lot of presenters, but either we use our own folks or use other resources so we don’t have to pay for it,” Superintendent Matt Klosterman said.

Treat tax dollars as if they are coming out of your own pocket, because they are. That leads to creativity, which is a much sounder policy than scrambling to spend as much as a distant bureaucrat dictates.

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