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Balancing Accountability and Local Control: State Intervention for Financial and Academic Stability

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Publication Date: March 2000

Publisher(s): Reason Foundation

Author(s): Richard Seder

Topic: Education (Education financing, facilities, and equipment)

Type: Report


States continue to search for ways to hold schools accountable for results. Financial management and
academic performance are two areas where state legislatures gauge school district performance. There are several cases across the nation where school districts failed to maintain sound financial and academic strategies. Financial and academic bankruptcies indicate failure on behalf of local school districts.

What are needed are new options available to educators, parents, and students. These strategies must have
the goal of improving student performance at their cores. Ultimately, these programs should no longer operate if unsuccessful in this mission. The ambiguous results of the different state takeover strategies should lead policymakers to seek alternative accountability strategies. The efforts of Chicago Mayor Daley and the ambitious public-private partnership between Chelsea (MA) schools and Boston University offer options for other states and schools to learn from. Without genuine accountability, poor student achievement will continue to plague many of our nationâ s public schools.