Special Report

West Virginia

January 04, 2005 1 min read

West Virginia’s school finance system was ruled unconstitutional in 1982 and again in 1996. In response, in 1998, the state revised the finance formula and created a state accountability system. That action led to the trial court’s 2003 decision in Tomblin v. State Board of Education that the reforms met constitutional requirements. Like those of most states, West Virginia’s school finance system is based on a foundation formula. The foundation level for each district is based on student enrollment. Student enrollment determines the number of professional and service personnel required. The state share is then calculated by subtracting the required local levy, which is set by the legislature each year. The share of total education aid provided by the state ranges from 89.5 percent in districts with the lowest property wealth to 47.7 percent in the wealthiest districts. Enrollment figures used in the formula are adjusted to provide additional aid for students in special education, gifted-and-talented education, and honors or Advanced Placement programs. Each special education and gifted student counts as three students, and each student enrolled in honors or Advanced Placement programs counts as two students. More than 17 percent of lottery proceeds and $18 million from sales and use taxes are dedicated to education annually. For fiscal 2004, the lottery raised almost $74 million for education.