Every Dollar Counts Learning Series logo

Every Dollar Counts Learning Series is a 7-part learning series designed to help Alabamians understand how schools are funded, and what we can do to improve the adequacy and equity in our funding formula so that our schools and students have access to the resources that they need to succeed. We will feature expert speakers from Alabama and across the country, and assign optional pre-readings for each session.

Session schedule

SessionContentPresenter

Session 1: School Funding 101

April 18, 2024, 3-4 pm CST
Session 1 will provide attendees with an introduction to school funding structures, including what goes in, what comes out, and why it matters. Additionally, attendees will learn how state education funding formulas compare across the country, and several ways to evaluate their adequacy and fairness. This session will lay a foundation for future sessions, ensuring attendees can examine the many dimensions of school funding in Alabama.Qubilah Huddleston
The Education Trust
Pre-Readings Notes, Agenda, & Decks: Agenda | Pre-Reading | Watch the video | Download the Deck

Session 2: Cracking the Code: Alabama’s Funding Formula

May 2, 2024, 3-4 pm CST
Session 2 will provide attendees with a close examination of Alabama’s funding formula, including its history, structure, how it works in practice, and its impact on key drivers like salaries and staffing, instructional programs, and learning supports for students.

We’ll discuss how the current formula funds and impacts rural and urban districts, and the challenges local counties face in funding the remainder of district needs.
Corinn O’Brien and Jason Meadows
Every Child Alabama Coalition
Pre-Readings Notes, Agenda, & Decks: Agenda | Pre-Reading | Watch the video | Download the Deck

Session 3: Passing School Funding Reform: Growing Momentum

May 16, 2024, 3-4 pm CST
Session 3 will provide attendees with an overview of the Legislative process, players, and progress in education policy.

We also talk with Robert Blizzard (UpONE Strategies) on recent Alabama polling and Rebecca Sibilia (EdFund) on recent school funding momentum in other states.
Mark Dixon, Robert Blizzard (UpONE Strategies), & Rebecca Sibilia (EdFund)
Pre-Readings Notes, Agenda, & Decks: Agenda | Pre-Reading | Watch the Video | Download the Deck

Session 4: Student Weighted Formula: What's the Research say?

May 30, 2024, 3-4 pm CST
Session 4 will provide attendees with an understanding of the mechanics of a student-weighted formula, as well as a look at model policies from across the country.

We will hear from Dr. Chris Candeleria of Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt, who will share the latest research on the impact of school funding on achievement, student outcomes, and economic mobility.
Qubliah Huddleston (Ed Trust) & Dr. Chris Candeleria (Vanderbilt Peabody)
Pre-Readings Notes, Agenda, & Decks: Agenda | Deck | Pre-Reading

Session 5: Data & Solutions- Let’s Think Big

June 13, 2024, 3-4 pm CST
Session 5 will provide attendees with an analysis of a possible alternative to Alabama’s current formula, which is a resource-based funding model.

What is a student-weighted formula? What is the best design to meet the needs of Alabama’s students? We’ll explore model policies and a set of principles that we believe will work for Alabama.
Jennifer O'Neal Schiess & Alex Spurrier (Bellwether)
Pre-Readings Notes, Agenda, & Decks: Agenda | Deck | Pre-Reading

Session 6: Funding Reform Advocacy - What Works?

June 27, 2024, 3-4 pm CST
Session 6 will provide attendees an opportunity to hear from advocates and leaders in other states about their ability to change their funding formula.

We’ll examine the Tennessee story and discuss what worked, lessons learned, and how the public will was changed in order to achieve a new formula.
Jason Meadows, Gini Pupo-Walker, & ECA Coalition Partners
Pre-Readings Notes, Agenda, & Decks: Agenda | Deck | Pre-Reading

Session 7: Leading from Your Seat: Advocacy Skill Building

July 11, 2024, 3-4 pm CST
Our final session will provide attendees with tangible skills to advocate and communicate on school finance and the funding reform necessary to create durable change in Alabama.

We’ll offer strategies in communications and messaging, storytelling, and utilizing social media and data to make a compelling case for change.

We’ll also offer strategies for meeting with policymakers and leaders who have the power to change our funding formula in our state.
Ed Trust
RALLY
Pre-Readings Notes, Agenda, & Decks: Agenda | Deck | Pre-Reading