Is private funding for public school projects fair?

If you missed it, be sure to check out Lynh Bui’s story on Montgomery County officials being concerned over private fundraising for public improvements:

The Montgomery County Council and Board of Education have seen an increasing number of expensive projects emerging from the county’s affluent communities and think it could contribute to the achievement gap and deepen the divide between economic classes.

Of the 126 privately funded school improvement projects in the county in the past three years, 22 have cost between $10,000 and $1.3 million, almost all of them in wealthier communities with fewer minority students. Of those 22 projects, 17 were at schools with lower rates of students receiving free and reduced-price meals, a measure of poverty, and a majority of the projects were at schools where whites and Asians made up more than half of the student body.

 

For more, we also have a breakdown of recent privately funded projects for Montgomery County schools that cost more than $10,000.

The issue isn’t only a factor in Montgomery County. As Bui writes:

In Fairfax, the school board and county supervisors have approved initial plans to spend $3 million in county money on 15 new synthetic turf fields in areas where the rate of free and reduced-price meals is highest. Fairfax boasts 67 synthetic turf fields, largely funded by private donors and athletics boosters from the county’s tony neighborhoods.

The article has drawn over 400 comments, with Todd Blackman’s thoughts being recommended the most as of late this afternoon:

Of course…..that’s what this country now strives for….not greatness, but lowering everybody down to the lowest common denominator!

We’re curious of what our audience on Recruiting Insider thinks. Just how far should counties go to ensure a level playing field?

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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Matt Brooks · August 12, 2013

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