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The Bottom Line 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) and replace it with an enrollment-based model in which money follows the students. This would include a base amount for every student along with additional funding set aside for disadvantaged groups of students. It also evaluates the differentiation of wealth centered on property values, meaning it takes into consideration the cost of living where the child lives.

The Senate bill is exactly the kind of reform needed in education funding. Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Don Nielsen writes in his book Every School,“under this [weighted student formula] system, schools with the most difficult-to-educate population of children would receive the most funding. Also, schools would quickly realize they had to create a school that parents wanted their children to attend; otherwise, they would not get funded. Basically, this system creates a ‘free market economy’ inside the public system.”

Although the Senate bill has yet to be signed in to law, and then it would only take effect in 2020-21, it is a step in the right direction. This affects every person of Idaho and should be highly considered if we are to achieve our highest potential as a nation and in our children. We need to assure our society nurtures, loves, and educates all of its children.

Bailey Takacs

Development Program Coordinator, American Center for Transforming Education
Bailey Takacs served as development program coordinator to Discovery Institutes' American Center for Transforming Education and Development team. Bailey has experiences which also include: campaign management and administrative roles with elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels of the government. He holds a B.A. in Politics and Government from Pacific Lutheran University.
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