Paying For America's Schools: Is There A Better Way? : NPR
Farm to School and School Garden Fund Tax Check Off Plan menus which meet specific minimum standards for key nutrients and calories through selection . 14, , at Butler Junior High School in Oak Brook. Local taxes and school fees now make up percent of revenue for districts statewide other states provide for their schools, according to national school finance data. Those programs benefit mainly school-age children from low-income households . The largest of the five school- and center-based programs, the National School Lunch child nutrition programs must meet nutritional standards, schools reducing federal spending by $11 billion from through
Voters in Oregon, as in Colorado, ultimately tried to undo some of the damage these tax caps have done to their public schools. But to little effect. In Oregon, the state set up a commission to determine just how much money its schools really needed.
Voters even approved a requirement that state lawmakers spend what the commission called for. The rule gave legislators an "out. Since then, there have been lots of reports. Not once have lawmakers fully funded the commission's recommendation. For more on what's happened in Oregon, click here. Hold Harmless It's obvious but worth saying: Helping low-wealth schools requires buy-in from voters who live beyond those districts' borders. And it requires lawmakers to look past their local interests.
Last May, Texas state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, a Republican, stood on the bustling floor of the House of Representatives in Austin and asked his fellow lawmakers to do just that. Casey Smith center holds a family Bible as his grandfather, Texas state Rep. A hold harmless provision creates a kind of force field around a lawmaker's district, temporarily exempting its schools from, say, a budget cut.GIRLS U14 100m RUN FINAL. 62nd NATIONAL SCHOOL GAME’S ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS-2016-17
Inin an attempt to shrink the spending gaps between affluent and low-wealth districts, Texas tried to cap how much property tax revenue a district could raise and spend on its schools. In response, some Texas districts asked to be held harmless.
Now, those communities still saw limits to how much they could raise in property tax revenue. But, under the hold harmless provision, the state agreed to use state dollars to make up that difference.
Some affluent districts that could raise money locally to pay for their schools were being told not to — and getting more state money in return. Which also means that, while Texas was technically putting more state money into its schools, those dollars weren't targeting its neediest students.
In many cases, they were doing the opposite. This hold harmless phenomenon isn't specific to Texas, either. In many states, powerful districts with declining student enrollment have lobbied for, and won, exemptions from state efforts to make school funding more equitable. Aycock withdrew his bill and is retiring from the Legislature. When it comes to Texas' school funding system, Aycock says, "I'll go to my grave wishing I could've done more.
But surely there is common ground, somewhere. In an attempt to find it, let's leave behind the conflict and cautionary tales and explore a few big ideas in school funding.
Last week, we presented compelling evidence that funding increases can help disadvantaged students — those living in poverty, with disabilities, or who are learning English. Given that many of these students live in property-poor communities, that extra help usually comes from the state.
But how, exactly, does a state know how much money is enough money? And attempts at solutions are made incredibly complicated by the fact that different children with different needs require different levels of support. To better understand those needs — and what it will cost to meet them — a state can commission what's called an "adequacy study. Michigan is a late-comer.
Its first adequacy study is due out in May. They hired Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, or APA — a consulting firm that's done dozens of school funding studies for states across the country.
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Justin Silverstein is heading up the Michigan study from his office in Colorado. He and his team aren't going to Michigan to visit classrooms or interview teachers. Instead, they're wading through tons of data to find the answer.
They're using the "successful schools" model, which means they're only going to look at data from the most successful districts in the state — districts that are performing at or above the state average on tests.
Where are they getting revenues? So we're trying to get a real good picture of the fiscal realities for those districts," explains Silverstein. That includes how much money successful districts spend on at-risk students and whether it's more expensive to teach in certain parts of the state. Almost every study Silverstein's firm has done has found that states need to spend more money to give all students a shot at meeting state academic standards. But that hasn't always led to increased spending.
Many times, states get back their adequacy studies and do nothing. But it's a start. Property Tax, Revisited Studying adequacy is one thing. Wyoming is trying to guarantee it. Nine years ago, Mark Shrum moved his family to the city of Gillette, in the northeast part of the state, for two reasons: A view of two coal seams and coal hauling trucks being loaded in the Buckskin Coal Mine, 12 miles north of Gillette, Wyo.
Kids can take swim lessons in the district's aquatic center, and the state is funding construction of a brand new high school. It's got relatively few students and spends a lot on them. Where did all of this money come from? First, an energy boom helped fuel a boom in school funding.
The production of oil, gas and Gillette coal accounts for 70 percent of state revenue. Then there's the legal answer.
In response to several lawsuits demanding better school funding, the Wyoming Supreme Court told lawmakers to "treat the wealth of the state as a whole.
The court-ordered changes "essentially doubled the amount of state resources we were putting into education and in some ways more than doubled it," says Mary Kay Hill, the policy director for the state's current governor, Matt Mead. To be clear, affluent districts can still raise and spend money locally, and big spending gaps remain. But state policymakers are quick to point out that, in every Wyoming district, funding now exceeds the national average. Chris Rothfuss, a Laramie Democrat.
Why America's Schools Have A Money Problem
There's another important asterisk to the Wyoming story: Despite its outsize funding, test scores haven't risen with this two-decade investment. The state remains in the middle of the pack in most measures of academic achievement. But don't tell that to Mark Shrum. History The practice of state support for private school education has existed in Maine and Vermont for nearly years. They have ongoing programs that provide public funding to private schools for rural students who do not have a public school in close proximity to their home.
InFlorida enacted the John M. McKay Scholarships Program for Students with Disabilities becoming the first state to offer private school vouchers to students with disabilities. Inthe first federally funded and administered voucher program was enacted by Congress in Washington, D. It offered private school vouchers to low income students, giving priority to those attending low-performing public schools Inthe Utah legislature passed legislation creating the first statewide universal school voucher program, meaning it was available to any student in state with no limitations on student eligibility.
A petition effort successfully placed the legislation on the state ballot for voter approval. In Novemberthe ballot measure was voted down and the new voucher program was never implemented. Private school choice proponents contend that when parents can choose where to send their child to school, they will choose the highest performing options.
Those schools performing poorly will be forced to either improve or risk losing students and the funding tied to those students. While public school choice policies like charter schools serve a similar purpose, private schools have more flexibility in staffing, budgeting, curriculum, academic standards and accountability systems than even charter schools. This flexibility, supporters arguefosters the best environment for market competition and cost efficiency.
Opponents of private school choice raise a number of concerns. They argue shifting a handful of students from a public school into private schools will not decrease what the public school must pay for teachers and facilities, but funding for those costs will decrease as students leave.