School Finance 101 in Four Short Videos
September 01, 2021
Appears in September 2021: School Administrator.
School finance is complicated during the best of times. When COVID-19 hit, it became even more convoluted.
On March 13, 2020, Michigan’s governor issued an executive order suspending in-person instruction and closing most businesses. No one knew how long that closure would last. As time went on, concerns began to rise regarding the impact of closures on the economy.
The Kent Intermediate Superintendents Association, a group of 20 school system leaders in Kent County, Mich., were among the first to ring the alarm. The group, including Kent ISD’s superintendent at the time, Ron Caniff, saw a need for a concise and clear message regarding the relationship between the COVID-19 pandemic and school funding. In particular, parents needed to understand the direct link between the economy and funding of their schools — so that they may be better advocates for their schools. This message would be shared through superintendent and local district networks, websites and social media, primarily Twitter and Facebook. It also became an element of the Our Kids, Our Future public education advocacy campaign waged by school districts in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties.
The messaging campaign kicked off in June 2020. Kent ISD data scientist Sunil Joy wrote an article for the advocacy campaign describing the looming crisis in public school funding due to COVID-19. With the needed influx of COVID-19 communications delivered by e-mail, text and public signage ramping up, video production was chosen to convey finance messages in concise, understandable segments using animation to engage viewers and capture attention. Kent ISD contracted a professional video and animation producer to create these videos in a timely manner.
About the Author
Kevin Philipps is assistant superintendent of administrative services and chief financial officer with the Kent Intermediate School District in Grand Rapids, Mich.