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A Think Twice Review of:

Review of Assessing the National Landscape of Capital Expenditures for Public School Districts

Think Twice - Apr 20, 2023

Publisher/Think Tank - Urban Institute

Author(s) - Kristin Blagg, Fanny Terrones, and Victoria Nelson

The report relies primarily on school district annual capital outlay data reported in the U.S. Department of Education's Common Core of Data. It also examines which state policies may promote more progressive investment patterns. Confirming other studies, the report finds that school district capital expenditures vary from year to year and from state to state, that each state has a unique approach and mix of policies governing state support for local capital outlay, and that capital outlay is rarely equal or progressive. The report also finds that states with policies that aim to equalize capital spending are more likely to provide capital outlays for students from low-income backgrounds that are equal to or greater than outlays in wealthier communities.

Reviewer(s) - Jeffrey M. Vincent, University of California, Berkeley

These findings are all well-supported, and the report's recommendations, including increasing funding, accounting for student economic need, and continuing assessment on building quality, provide useful insights for state and federal policy that will promote more progressive capital spending.