K-12 schools are supposed to prepare students for a future in higher education and the workforce, but these educational institutions may be failing their students thanks to a lack of funding. School funding is a perennial issue across America, and it can be difficult to find the funds necessary to adequately support students, teachers and administrators. Faced with contracting budgets and rising demands, many administrators have to make cuts that significantly impact students.
Space is a huge issue in many K-12 facilities, and space constraints result in overcrowded classrooms that make it difficult for students to learn. That problem becomes worse when schools find funding to embark on expansion or other construction projects. These projects force administrators to devote classrooms and other spaces to storage, and compound existing space issues.
Many of the problems facing U.S. schools are rooted in a funding system forces school districts to rely on states for money rather than the national government, according to the Department of Education. This results in a patchwork system that sees each region making its own decisions about school funding with varying results.
“The current school funding system yields mixed results.”
As a result some schools are woefully underfunded while others are able to provide their students with an excellent education. Despite the variations in school funding from district to district and state to state, people in America recognize that school funding is important, and want it to improve, according to Gallup polls. Unfortunately, it’s not clear that school funding will change substantially in the future. That means that school administrators are obligated to maximize their current budgets.
The Effect of Inadequate Budgets
Schools that don’t have enough money are forced to make cuts throughout the organization. This can have a detrimental effect on student’s education and safety. According to a report from NBC affiliate NECN, many schools are unable to afford the security updates they need to prevent school shootings and other attacks as a result of budget cuts.
“We’re dealing with a billion dollar budget deficit,” said Massachusetts state representative Alice Peisch, “And trying to add new things when you’re in the middle of cutting is almost impossible”.
Beyond safety issues, a lack of funding makes it difficult or impossible for schools to implement educational standards that are required by law. According to a story from U.S. News and World Report, many schools were unable to implement the Common Core Education Standards because they lacked the budget to update their programs. States said they were unable to purchase computers and other equipment that was necessary to help students meet the Common Core requirements.
“Budgetary restraints lead to school overcrowding.”
Further problems have to do with rampant overcrowding in underfunded schools. Las Vegas provides a distressing example of school overcrowding. The New York Times reported that students are forced to take classes in temporary classroom structures or have to participate in courses over the Internet. Many schools stay open thought the entire year to cycle students in and out of overcrowded classrooms. These problems are particularly worrisome because studies demonstrate that students learn better in smaller classes.
According to CNN, an experiment in California schools demonstrated that student test scores rose when class sizes were cut from 30 students per teacher to 16. To keep their student to teacher ratio at a level that sustains strong student performance, school administrators must focus on saving money and maximizing the available space. That can be difficult, particularly when construction projects cut into existing facilities.
The space problems that schools experience mean that many districts take any opportunity to start expansion projects that can increase usable space. Unfortunately, these projects often lead to more short-term space constrains, because schools are forced to store materials from the areas being renovated or changed. These items generally end up in a classroom and decrease a school’s available classroom space even further.
Portable storage allows schools to maximize available space and keep materials on site. With portable storage units from Mobile Mini, schools can rent cost-effective secure storage that can be equipped with easy-to-open doors competing containers don’t offer. School budgets are unlikely to change any time soon, but portable storage allows administrators to proactively address the problem.