Equity and Complexity in School Funding
Districts should have access to equitable amounts of revenue per local tax effort through a formula-funded school finance system that eliminates target revenue. The system should recognize the unique challenges arising from differences in student populations.
- The significant difference in target revenue amounts that exists between districts results in an inequitable school finance system.
- The current system is not "formula driven" as 81 percent of students attend school in districts that are "Hold Harmless". Hold Harmless assures each district receives a minimum amount of funding per student based on the funding levels in 2005-06, but this funding level is not determined by a formula.
- The current Target Revenue system is both inequitable and very complex. Region XIII provides an Excel file that districts use to calculate their estimated level of state funding. This file contains over 50 spreadsheets!
- Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA) is used to provide different funding levels across the various segments of the student population. For example, a bilingual student receives a higher weighting (i.e. receive more funding) because of the additional resources that are needed to educate that child. It is important that the various weights truly reflect the incremental costs that are associated with educating these different student populations.