Looking Ahead to School Budgets in 2016-17 and the Impact of ESSA

There is still six months of the 2015-16 school year left, but publishers are already looking ahead to school purchases for 2016-17. MDR has released its State of the K-12 Market 2015, which shows that 9 of 10 districts had the same or only slightly changed instructional materials budget for 2015. However, according to a recent article in Education Week, state and district education departments will assume more responsibility under ESSA, which could require shifts in budget structures by the 2017-18 term.

"It's the shift back to, yes, you're in the driver's seat," said Kathy Cox, who served as the state schools superintendent in Georgia between 2003 and 2010 and now helps state departments implement policy as the CEO of the Delivery Institute, to Education Week. "But you're the one paying for the gas. You've got to fill the tank."

The MDR report shows stronger budget growth in the West (41% expecting an increase) with the Northeast having the weakest forecast (36% expecting a decrease). Additional highlights include increased spending on hardware and software with a decline in teacher training and tech support, the increased use of blended learning models, and a major shift to online assessments. Various sources told Education Week that staffing, one of the key areas impacted by the recent recession, will probably still feel the squeeze under ESSA implementation.

Read “Research Finds K-12 Hardware and Software Budgets Continue to Rise,” MDR (January 12, 2016)

Read “ESSA Poses Capacity Challenges for State Education Agencies,” by Daarel Burnette II, Education Week (January 19, 2016)


Education Policy