CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, August 23, 2021

Heise & Nance on School Safety Spending

Michael Heise and Jason P. Nance (Cornell Law School and University of Florida Levin College of Law) have posted Per Pupil And School Safety Spending: An Empirical Perspective on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In response to growing concerns over school violence, crime, and safety, schools continue to implement school crime prevention and reduction policies and programs. Aside from the increased demands on school budgets imposed by new and enhanced school safety programs, two additional factors complicate matters further. First, just as schools vary in terms of their violence and crime prevention programmatic needs, schools (and districts) also vary in terms of their financial needs and health. Second, schools similarly vary in the magnitude of financial tradeoffs incident to school administrators’ reconciling competing claims for school crime prevention programs and other demands on a non-inexhaustible supply of school funds. Exploiting the nation’s leading data set on public school crime and safety, the U.S. Department of Education’s 2017-18 School Survey on Crime and Safety (“SSOCS”), supplemented by district-level current per pupil spending data, we explore variation in school administrators’ views about the nature of the compromise between school safety and other budgetary claims.
Our core findings imply that variation in student per pupil spending as well as perceived litigation exposure persistently informed administrators’ reports about the inadequacy of school funding and how it limits school crime prevention and reduction efforts. That school finance trade-offs implicate school crime prevention programs reinforces the broader point that school finance issues implicate a suite of factors that extend beyond student academic achievement and other traditional outcomes and into school crime, violence, and safety domains.

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