Unfortunately, this perception — justified or not — has created fertile ground for a Grover Norquist-inspired proposal called the “65% solution.” The proposal, expected to be placed on Ohio’s ballot in November, would mandate that 65% of all public school funding be directed to the classroom.
On the surface, this sounds pretty appealing to most Americans. But in this Monday editorial USA Today explained why the phony "65% solution" creates more problems than it solves:
The idea is alluringly simple: Require schools to spend 65% of their education dollars for instructional purposes, presumably cutting administrative waste. Politically, who can resist? Not Texas, where the governor recently imposed the rule statewide.
... Opponents are easily demonized as champions of bureaucracy. But like most simple ideas for solving complicated problems, the 65% solution doesn't look as appealing under scrutiny.
... On average, schools spend about 61% of their budgets on "instructional" activities. But only about 8% of the remainder goes to the education bureaucrats in the central offices. The balance goes for librarians, bus transportation, school lunches, special education services, etc.
If schools do nothing but squabble over what's in or out of the 65% bubble, it becomes a useless distraction. Rural districts with expensive bus routes could find themselves drained of students.
... A Standard & Poor's evaluation shows that districts spending less than 65% on "instructional" activities are just as likely to turn in good or bad scores as those spending above that level.