Published: January 6, 2005
Rhode Island does not use a formula to distribute money to schools. Instead, the state uses 10 different components, the largest of which is general aid. General aid is calculated starting with what each district received in fiscal 1998. There are no weights or adjustments made to the general-aid portion of state funding for education, but some of the 10 components of education aid in Rhode Island are targeted to specific student populations. Extra money is available for students in poverty, English-language learners, and vocational education students. Rhode Island also has 13 categorical-aid programs totaling almost $241 million in fiscal 2004. Categorical aid in the state provides additional money for literacy initiatives, professional development, bilingual education, early-childhood education, teacher retirement, technology, and capital outlays. A joint legislative committee is studying whether to use a foundation formula to finance education in the state. The committee is also studying what it would cost to provide an effective and efficient educational system. Rhode Island had been part of a consortium of states organized by the Washington-based Council of Chief State School Officers to study the costs of implementing the federal No Child Left Behind Act, but it withdrew because of the high cost of conducting the study.
Vol. 24, Issue 17, Page 72