Category

Education Funding

Sad businessman looking down standing next to open dumspter with rain of dollars falling into it.
Sad businessman looking down standing next to open dumspter with rain of dollars falling into it. Waste money. Unprofitable project. Business failure.
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Real Solutions, Not Cash Infusions

As Max C. Eden aptly states (National Review, July 30, 2019) when it comes to education, “money matters, but not if it’s simply tossed into a dysfunctional district.” He cites a recent Johns Hopkins University study regarding the dreary conditions of public schools in Providence, R.I, despite the fact that Providence spends $17,192 per pupil every year. Spending has increased significantly for the American public education system—to almost three times more per child, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than in 1970. Eden also points out that “Although education spending took a hit during the Great Recession, it has been climbing steadily over the past five years and is at an all-time high in most states.” Switching to teacher pay (which Democratic presidential Read More ›

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Transparency is a Must with Taxpayers Money

Education Week recently posed a pivotal question: “Where, exactly, do those billions of dollars taxpayers annually spend for schools go?” Those in charge of the funds sometimes don’t even know.  For example, in Mississippi the state education department “miscalculated” the exact dollar amount it would take to contribute a “$1,500 bonus” to teachers. Lawmakers with inquiries about the mistake were directed to the antiquated 20-year-old student-information system which the Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant, referred to as being “held up by a Band-Aid”. As we’ve reported on before, taxpayers need to know where revenues from their taxes are being spent—especially the annual per student education spending. Instead, antiquated systems track billions of dollars of educational spending with little transparency from lawmakers Read More ›

疑問を持つ人々
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Taxpayers Should Question the K-12 System

The K-12 education system requests more money from state budgets every year. Yet student performance has flatlined. Commenting on the issue in an article on Edweek.org entitled, “Public Torn Between Support for School Spending and Actually Paying the Tab,” the author notes that  “K-12 spending in recent years has eaten up a larger and larger share of states’ tax revenue. On average, K-12 spending takes up more than a quarter of states’ budgets. And while recent polls show swelling support for more money going toward schools, there remains sentiment among the general public that taxes are too high” So the question regarding school funding is “how to do it in a fair, equitable, and effective way that won’t create a Read More ›

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Confusion Over Student Spending

Does anyone really know how much we spend on our public schools? A state-finance map on per-pupil spending from Education Week shows Washington State, where we are based, spends $11,125 per student, accounting for “factors such as teacher and staff salaries, classroom spending, and administration, but not construction or other capital spending.” Confusing! The frustrating issue with this report is it creates controversies about which state “could” be spending more in comparison to other states, which does not matter as much as the actual spending figures importantly, the figure seems to only include the state revenue portion (of course, this is not highlighted in the report). What is missing is the significant portion of school funding from local levies, federal Read More ›

Grunge state of Washington flag map
Grunge state of Washington flag map isolated on a white background, U.S.A.
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Students and Parents Badly Hurt by the Legislature

The 2019 legislature missed out on a big opportunity this year. Instead of working to reform how our schools operate, the legislature took a step backwards by undoing much of the good work that was done in response to the McCleary court ruling just two years ago. In 2017, Democrats and Republicans approved a bi-partisan school funding bill, reforming state and local property taxes to ensure that the state met its constitutional obligation to fully fund K-12 education.  The law reduced inequities by capping local property taxes, so wealthy areas would not have an imbalanced benefit, by providing equitable state funding to all schools on a per-student basis. All parties, including Governor Inslee, lauded and moved forward with the agreement. Read More ›

genius
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Antiquated Funding Creates Disparity

As reported in Education Week, two states recognized as targets for educational transformation by Discovery Institute’s American Center for Transforming Education (ACTE) are in it for the long haul. Idaho and Texas recently battled to revamp their K-12 funding formulas during their respective legislative sessions. The changes are promising, even if some questions remain about the future. The discussions over funding formulas are greatly needed. As the article points out, “Virtually every legislator gets involved with school funding formula debates since they each have vocal constituents at risk of gaining or losing state aid. And anti-tax advocates, parents, and teachers—groups with get-out-the-vote prowess—are among those at the forefront.” The bottom line is that how the schools will be funded impacts Read More ›

Wide view of the boise capital building
Boise capital building shot with fisheye then corrected or distortion.
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Money Should Follow the Students

As reported by IdahoEdNews.org the Idaho state legislature has been grappling with vacating the 25-year-old education funding formula in Idaho. Originally crafted in the House by Representative Clow, the 59-page draft was an excellent starting point for changing the funding system. However, the House bill has effectively been killed due to the omission of a couple minor edits that some felt were necessary. Now the scene has shifted to the Senate. The two funding-formula bills have “a lot more commonality” than differences, Senator Mortimer stated when hearing the news about the House action taken. The bill introduced in the Senate would vacate the old funding model (an antiquated method of funding K-12 schools solely based on attendance or seat time) Read More ›

large group of kinds in kindergarten class
Group of happy boys and girls in kindergarten holding color cardboard shapes and looking at camera
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Washington is a Great Example of What Not to Do With Education Funding

After dumping almost another $1 billion into funding for education, why do the local school districts in Washington State keep needing more money? House Bill 2242, passed in 2017, effectively ended the drawn out McCleary decision.  The bill authorized the state to raise local property taxes to increase school funding and called for a reduction of levy funding to make the funding for property-poor districts more equitable.  The property tax increase went into effect last year and the levy reduction goes into effect this year.  Thus, for one year, property-rich districts had a windfall of funding since they received the new property tax revenues and retained their levy funding. Knowing that districts had excess funds for one year, a number of new contracts were Read More ›