Published: January 6, 2005
Virginia’s school finance formula is based on the state’s Standards of Quality program. The foundation formula provides about 90 percent of state aid to districts. Additional money is provided through various incentive and categorical programs. Each district’s foundation allotment is based on the costs of the instructional positions, support positions, and nonpersonnel support needed to meet the SOQ requirements. Specific instructional-staffing standards are defined through state statutes and vary from district to district based on differences in enrollment, such as the number of vocational students. The state requires a minimum local effort, and each district’s local government is required to raise revenues to meet that amount. Each district is required to levy a different amount based on its “composite index of local ability-to-pay.” The index takes into account local property values, income, and retail sales as measures of local wealth. The index can be no higher than 0.80, indicating that even the wealthiest districts will receive at least a 20 percent state share toward meeting the required cost of the SOQ. During the 2004 legislative session, the legislature voted to increase the state sales tax dedicated to public education, from 1 cent to 1.25 cents per dollar. All state lottery proceeds also are dedicated to K-12 public education.
Vol. 24, Issue 17, Page 74