Policy Analysis School District Funding Essay

Submitted By meganzagorski93
Words: 1966
Pages: 8

After the first fiscal cliff crisis of 2013, the United States is still recuperating while preparing for what seems like an inevitable second cliff. Sequestered budget cuts are being put into practice for vital government concerns such as defense, disease control, and schools. While our nation’s defense takes the hardest spending cuts, school district spending cuts are not far behind. Since the great recession began in 2008, school districts have suffered a devastating blow to both their federal and state budgetary expenditures. While governors and legislatures of New York are balancing their budgets, student’s rights to a “sound basic education” are being neglected during hard economic times when education is most crucial (Rebell). As states continue to face budget shortfalls, it is becoming harder for local school districts to provide students with the constitutional standards that school districts are bound to. These budget cuts on education are especially detrimental for low income and minority districts which were already resource deprived prior to the recession. There are several key points, facts and figures that one must take into consideration when balancing a school districts budget as well as coming up with policy proposals for school districts in New York State. To propose new budgets that are more resourceful, one must understand the components of a school district’s budget and analyze what has been tried in the past to solve this ongoing casualty in the future. (Rebell) For decades, politicians, school administrators and educators have tried implementing education reforms that raise student academic achievement while at the same time trying to allocate education funds proportionally. The majority of the fifty states fund their public schools through local property taxes. The amount of property tax revenue a school can earn is dependent upon the value of local property and on the tax rate in that district (Facts on File). Some states rely more heavily on property taxes to fund public schools than others. The states that are able to raise funds through statewide sales or income tax do not need to rely primarily on property taxes to fund local school districts (FEBP). For example, a state like New Hampshire relies on 89% of property taxes for school district funding because of the exemption of income tax and sales tax (Facts on File). Research shows that “on average nationwide, local government raises 46% of the money needed to run public schools, state government provides 47% and the federal government chips in 7%” (Facts On File) The majority of the states use funding formulas that determine the amount of funding a district receives based on the number of pupils in that district. The different factors that are considered in a district’s funding formula are the number of students with disabilities, the number of student’s living in poverty, and the number of students who speak English as a second language (Brooks). In some states the funding formula is designed in such a way that higher poverty districts with limited local funding receive additional assistance. The share of state education funding varies from state to state. States that rely mostly on property taxes rather than state funding to fund elementary and secondary education have larger funding gaps between other school districts in the state. Poorer communities having less of a property tax base can have a higher tax rate for homeowners in that community but less funding is raised to support the local school district (Agron). It has become an unfortunate rite that children who have the highest needs go to schools with the least resources. The way in which funding is allocated is often a solution that is proposed for the funding gap between wealthier and poorer districts. Instead it is more beneficial to ensure that monies are available to bring districts up to a level of adequacy. The issue of equity and adequacy amongst school districts…