Pay Theory Blog
July 14, 2022

School Treasurers: How Are You Supporting Low-Income Families?

We’re seeing a rising amount of proof that shows the direct correlation between increased spending on education and higher student outcomes. Research on education spending showed that more money per school district led to higher test scores, higher graduation rates, and sometimes even higher wages for adults in 2018.

It's time to ask the long-overdue question: how do you support low-income families within your district to achieve the same outcomes?

Money Matters for Student Achievement

Students in high-poverty communities continue to have less access to core academic services that increase student outcomes. A study by Northwestern examined the cause and effect of raising a total of 10% spending per pupil over 12 years of public education. Northwestern saw graduation rates spike by 7% and a 3% lower risk of adult poverty. Funds in this study were used on evidence-based intervention services, such as high-quality early education programs.

Better schooling resources include smaller class sizes, additional instructional support, early childhood programs, and competitive teacher compensation. Offering competitive teacher compensation rates permits schools and districts to recruit and retain higher-quality educators. At the end of the day, districts that offer competitive educator salaries will improve the educational experience and lives of the entire district.

Policies are Insufficient

In school finance policies, there are a large number of families that are forgotten. Common guidelines for state school finances are based on their equity, also known as adequacy. This means the solution to financing policies is perfectly satisfactory, but it doesn’t cover the families who need more assistance than others. Adequate school finances first protect medium-income families, leaving low-income students at a financial disadvantage.

Overall, the system is insufficient. Our current systems do not acknowledge that students in poverty need more early childhood education, high-quality teachers, and exposure to a rigorous curriculum. 30% of families identify as unbanked or underbanked, this covers nearly ⅓ of our population.

Cost Associated with Opportunities

Payments are gateways to opportunity. School treasurers ensure that everyone has equal access to various opportunities by letting them pay how, when, and where they want. By making these payments for school, extracurricular activities, or even childcare as seamless as possible, you are easing the financial lives of hundreds of families.

The recent movements toward a cashless society pose a massive risk for families who identify as underbanked or unbanked. We urge districts to explore the option of accepting payments through cash to serve these communities. Cash payments may be the only option for some of your families to accelerate their child’s education and set them up for a brighter future.