Major changes eyed in Idaho public school funding plan


How about 100% of the money follow the kids everywhere. I mean, it’s “for the kids”, right? Via The Spokesman-Review

An interim legislative committee is considering major changes to Idaho’s 23-year-old public school funding formula, including a shift to a student-based model.

During a daylong meeting Friday in Boise, the committee began narrowing proposals for the 2018 legislative session. Topping the list is the shift to student-based funding, which would distribute state dollars according to which entity – a traditional school, charter school or online academy – actually serves a child.

Idaho’s current funding model is based largely on staffing. Districts receive the bulk of their state appropriation according to the size and experience level of their teaching and administrative staff. A smaller portion reflects average daily attendance, which measures how many students are actually in class at a set time.

Idaho also has one of the most prescriptive funding models in the nation. For example, the 2018 K-12 budget includes more than two dozen mandatory line items. More than 75 percent of the total state appropriation must be spent in those specific categories, which cover everything from salaries to reading initiatives, classroom technology, professional development and transportation services. Only about 24 percent, or $405 million, can be used for discretionary expenditures.

Marguerite Roza, director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University, said the problem with this is that schools end up focusing more on state mandates rather than educational outcomes.

“Principals generally believe they could do more with the money they have if state mandates weren’t in the way,” she told the committee. “They’re conditioned to think, ‘I live in a system with too many rules, otherwise we could do better.’ So let’s remove the rules.”