Recently I have been researching how funding is determined for schools. A major issue in the contemporary educational system seems to be that financial issues trump educational issues in the form of budget cuts. So I figured I would research the concept of funding, in order to better my knowledge of the issues. I found a link pretty quickly that seems to explain the very basics of funding. Funding occurs on three different levels, state, local, and federal. The website I examined talked about funding from Ohio, and being from the Cleveland area, I figured I would stick with it. In Ohio (and many states) it seems that they use a formula that is meant to determine how much it should cost a school to provide their students with basic education. The formula attempts to find a cost per student based upon class room size, average staff salaries, and average maintenance costs. On the local level a portion of the property tax is taken for school funding, which is greatly influence by property values of that district. I am unsure of how fair it is for a portion of the funding to be based upon property values of an area. And apparently the Ohio Supreme Court agreed with me about a decade ago, when they prohibited districts from collecting money based upon the growth of property values. This supposedly causes an problem known as "phantom revenue," but I have no idea what that is. The website explained it by saying, "In other words, the state charges districts for the "growth" in property values when computing their local share even when they don't collect "growth" in local tax revenue. This phenomenon, known as "phantom revenue," varies with growth in values varies among districts." If someone could explain this to me, it would be greatly appreciated. The Ohio Supreme Court also ruled that state funding for school's must match the rate of inflation-- so both should increases somewhat simultaneously.
Outside of the basic aid that the state gives the schools, the state gives supplemental funds to the schools. These supplemental funds are based upon the need for special education and also the resources required to teach students from low-income families. I am also unsure of whether or not it should cost more to teach economically disadvantaged students, and need to contemplate this idea further. There is also a guarantee provision, which ensures schools receive no less aid than the previous year.
Unfortunately, I cannot put all of this information in one blog entry, and will attempting to paraphrase the process of funding tomorrow.
The Jesse Jennings