Commentary

Student-Based Budgeting One Possible Upside to $578 Million Los Angeles High School

As the nation’s most expensive public school opens in Los Angeles today at $578 million or more than $140,000 per student there is one ironic silver lining: the six academies at the school are part of Los Angeles Unified’s Transparent Budgeting Project which is embracing student-based budgeting and giving local schools autonomy over budget and curriculum. So while the capital costs at the school site are ridiculous, moving forward maybe the student-centered funding will help principals at the school budget for higher student achievement.

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.