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Local Education Funding

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Indy Star, 1/17/18

Indiana: Bill would sack school leaders in financially ailing districts

A bill to create a watch system for monitoring school districts’ financial health would punish schools that are truly struggling— and some school officials say it goes too far. House Bill 1315 would strip power from elected school boards, limit how often they can meet and allow state officials to revoke a superintendent’s license if the district is in hot financial water for too long.

The Baltimore Sun, 1/23/18

Baltimore school board approves new student funding plan based on poverty rates

The Baltimore school board on Tuesday approved broad changes to the way city schools are funded, allowing money to be allotted based largely on student poverty levels rather than standardized test scores. The new formula will send more money to many schools in high-poverty neighborhoods, enabling principals to pay for psychologists, tutoring services or other tools that could better serve children in need.

The Inquirer, 1/22/18

As budget season nears, school districts face formidable foe: Fixed costs

After fixed costs such as already-negotiated increases in benefits, state-required pension payments, and special-education placements, Pennsylvania school officials say there’s little wiggle room. An Inquirer and Daily News analysis based on data from the state and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials found that on average, about 85 percent of all costs for the state’s 500 school districts are set before budget hearings even begin.

Chalkbeat Indiana, 12/12/17

IPS’ new budget plan is supposed to give more money to poor schools. Here’s how it works.

A year ago, Indianapolis Public Schools embarked on a radical change: Instead of patching together school budgets based on each school’s programs and challenges, district leaders decided to distribute money through a clear formula based on students’ needs. The overarching principle was that schools with many poor students should get more from the district than schools with middle-class students — and that principals should get to decide how that money is spent.

The New York Times, 12/5/17

How effective is your school district? A new measure shows where students learn the most

It’s true that children in prosperous districts tend to test well, while children in poorer districts on average score lower. But in this analysis, which measures how scores grow as student cohorts move through school, the Stanford researcher Sean Reardon argues that it’s possible to separate some of the advantages of socioeconomics from what’s actually happening in schools.

Urban Institute, 11/29/17

How do school funding formulas work?

These formulas often attempt to account for state and district revenue and anticipated differences among districts. What they cannot always account for, however, is how districts might respond to different incentives. In these often complex funding models, states aim to strike a balance between giving localities some control while maintaining enough control at the state level to ensure all students can access a quality education.