Special Report
Quality Counts

Quality Counts 2005: No Small Change

Targeting Money Toward Student Performance
January 6, 2005
Special Report v24 QC
  • Education State Report Cards
    The following are state-by-state narratives highlighting some of the factors that contributed to state performance in the four graded sections of Quality Counts 2005.
    May 26, 2010
    3 min read
    Budget & Finance Revenue Limits
    Traditionally, the property tax has been the foundation for education aid in communities across the country. It also has led to wide variations in revenue across some districts.
    Joetta L. Sack, January 4, 2005
    5 min read
    Education Table: New York Adequacy Studies
    Table: New York Adequacy Studies
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Table: Kentucky Adequacy Studies
    Table: Kentucky Adequacy Studies
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Table: Maryland Adequacy Studies
    Table: Maryland Adequacy Studies
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    States Financial Evolution
    Historically, states have focused on how to distribute money equitably across districts. Now, states are asking what it would take to raise all students to state standards.
    Lynn Olson, January 4, 2005
    17 min read
    States State of the States: Quality Counts 2005
    States are putting in place policies to help meet the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act and to improve the conditions in their schools.
    January 4, 2005
    10 min read
    Education The Education Week Research Center Annual State Policy Survey
    To survey the states on their education policies, the Education Week Research Center sent surveys to the chief state school officers in all 50 states and to the superintendent of the District of Columbia public schools. Education Week mailed the survey, which contained five sections—standards and accountability, assessment, efforts to improve teacher quality, school climate, and school finance—on July 28, 2004; electronic copies were sent by e-mail on July 29. In several states, the section on efforts to improve teacher quality also was sent to the state’s teacher-standards board.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Chart: Test Mismatch
    Under the No Child Left Behind law, all students must reach proficiency on state exams by 2013-14.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Chart: Education Lotteries
    Chart: Education Lotteries
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Budget & Finance Elusive Answers
    The rising demands on public schools, a fluctuating economy, and successful lawsuits are forcing states to search for new ways to make their tax systems fairer and more reliable.
    David J. Hoff, January 4, 2005
    14 min read
    Budget & Finance Weighty Decisions
    The idea of building school budgets around individual students is getting more attention.
    Jeff Archer, January 4, 2005
    6 min read
    Education Chart: Plaintiff Victory
    As a result of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s 1998 Abbott v. Burke ruling, per-pupil spending in some of the state’s poorest districts, known as the Abbott districts, increased more than 41 percent from 1996 to 2003.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Law & Courts A Level Playing Field
    New Jersey's Abbott v. Burke lawsuit set the Garden State on a bold new path for financing schools in its neediest districts. Several years after the key decisions in the landmark case, the results are still being debated.
    Catherine Gewertz, January 4, 2005
    14 min read
    Education Chart: Per-Pupil Expenditures
    Chart: Per-Pupil Expenditures
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Chart: School Finance Litigation
    Chart: School Finance Litigation
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Accountability Financing Better Schools
    Quality Counts 2005: No Small Change, Targeting Money Toward Student Performance, focuses on the burgeoning efforts to link funding to educational outcomes. Nearly $500 billion in combined federal, state, and local money is spent on precollegiate education in the United States each year, with nearly half the total coming from state coffers.
    January 4, 2005
    7 min read
    Education Adequacy Studies: Interpretation
    This table is not a comprehensive list of all adequacy studies conducted across the 50 states. Studies not listed generally only included school-level costs, were not statewide, or included only certain types of districts. Other studies not included were too old, or original reports were not available.
    January 4, 2005
    2 min read
    Education Spending: Interpretation
    Spending index: While no consensus exists about how much money is necessary to provide an "adequate" education, it is clear that districts with certain characteristics tend to require more aid. Specifically, districts enrolling more students with special needs require more money. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that students in poverty, for example, need 1.2 times as much funding as other students do. The Center for Special Education Finance estimates that students with disabilities need 1.9 times as much money.
    January 4, 2005
    2 min read
    Education Equity: Interpretation
    State-equalization effort: Education Week changed the way we graded the states on equity this year, based on the advice of the Quality Counts 2005 advisory board. We decided to focus our efforts in this section on outcome measures only. Thus, we no longer use the state-equalization effort to measure the equity of school finance systems. The wealth-neutrality score, the McLoone Index, and the coefficient of variation now each count for one-third of the grade.
    January 4, 2005
    4 min read
    Education Funding Uncertain Costs
    The debate over how much federal aid is enough to pay for the No Child Left Behind Act has raged since well before President Bush signed the legislation in January 2002.
    January 4, 2005
    5 min read
    Education Funding Making Every Dollar Count
    As expectations for schools rise and money remains tight, policymakers face growing pressures to strengthen the connection between K-12 spending policies and academic results.
    Robert C. Johnston, January 4, 2005
    13 min read
    Education Chart: School-Level Data Collection
    Among the states that collect financial data from schools, there is a great deal of variation in how the data are collected, whether schools are audited, and whether the information is reported to the public.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Chart: Performance-Pay Pioneers
    States have started to reward teachers for demonstrating specific knowledge and skills in the classroom or for boosting their students’ test scores. The vast majority of states still pay teachers based on their education level and years of experience.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Teaching Profession Salary Adjustments
    Some experts wonder if the traditional teacher-pay system is the right fit for the rising demands of today's schools.
    Melissa McCabe, January 4, 2005
    5 min read
    School Choice & Charters Financial Freedom
    Flexibility comes at a price for charter schools, whose operators frequently face protracted battles over funding.
    Caroline Hendrie, January 4, 2005
    7 min read
    Education How Education Week Graded the States
    An overview of methodology and indicators used when compiling data for Quality Counts 2005.
    January 4, 2005
    18 min read
    Education Sources and Notes
    January 4, 2005
    16 min read
    Education Chart: State Strategies
    To provide additional funding for students “at risk”—those in poverty or headed for academic failure—most states adjust each district’s aid level through a weight or use categorical programs to grant school districts money that typically must be spent on specific services.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Equity & Diversity Targeted Spending
    According to a survey by the Education Week Research Center, 43 states and the District of Columbia have some kind of mechanism in place to provide extra money for students who are deemed at risk.
    Jennifer Park, January 4, 2005
    5 min read
    Education Chart: Spending Split
    Chart: Spending Split
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Vermont
    Standards and Accountability: Vermont has adopted clear and specific standards in English, mathematics, and science in all grade levels. But the American Federation of Teachers did not deem its social studies/history standards to be clear and specific.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Maine
    Standards and Accountability: A lack of clear and specific standards in core subjects and grade levels drags down Maine’s grade in this section.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Virginia
    Standards and Accountability: Virginia has clear and specific standards at the elementary, middle, and high school levels for English, mathematics, and social studies/history. Such standards exist for science at the elementary and middle school levels only.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Indiana
    Standards and Accountability: Indiana is one of only six states with clear and specific standards in English, mathematics, science, and social studies/history in every grade span.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Montana
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Iowa
    Standards and Accountability: Iowa continues to have the lowest grade of any state for its standards and accountability system, mostly because it leaves almost all such decisions up to local districts.
    January 4, 2005
    4 min read
    Education Nevada
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Connecticut
    Standards and Accountability: Connecticut has established clear and specific standards in all grade spans in mathematics and science. The state does not have clear and specific standards in English/language arts. The state has clear and specific standards in social studies/history at the middle school level only.
    January 4, 2005
    4 min read
    Education Delaware
    Standards and Accountability: The foundation of any school accountability system rests on solid academic standards, and assessments aligned with those standards. Delaware has clear and specific standards in elementary, middle, and high school for mathematics and science. The state has clear and specific standards in English at the elementary and middle school levels and in social studies/history at the middle and high school levels.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education New York
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    4 min read
    Education New Mexico
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Alaska
    Standards and Accountability: Alaska has clear and specific standards in mathematics and science at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, but not in English or social studies/history.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Florida
    Standards and Accountability: Florida is one of 12 states that earned A’s in this category this year. That’s because the state has many of the elements critical to a strong accountability system. Clear and specific standards exist in three out of four core subjects (English, mathematics, and science) in all grade spans. Social studies/history standards, though, are clear and specific at the elementary and high school levels only.
    January 4, 2005
    4 min read
    Education Georgia
    Standards and Accountability: Georgia receives a high overall grade in this category. The state has clear and specific standards in English, mathematics, and science in all grade spans. It also has clear standards in social studies/history at the high school level. But Georgia relies heavily on multiple-choice questions to measure student performance. The state uses extended-response items solely on its English exams.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Maryland
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Arkansas
    Standards and Accountability: The state has clear and specific standards in English, mathematics, and science, although the English and math standards are not clear and specific at the high school level. The standards in social studies/history are not clear and specific at the elementary, middle, or high school level.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Texas
    Standards and Accountability: Texas has clear and specific standards at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in mathematics. It has clear and specific standards in English at the elementary and high school levels; and in science, for elementary and middle schools. The American Federation of Teachers gives none of the state’s social studies/history standards that rating.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Wyoming
    In response to the Campbell I and Campbell II court cases in Wyoming, the state legislature commissioned an adequacy study in 1997, which was then revised in 2002. The study used the “professional judgment” model, based on three “prototypical” schools, one for each grade span. The study provided a method for the state to calculate the cost of providing an adequate education in elementary, middle, and high schools. For the 2004-05 school year, the foundation levels for those grade spans are $6,230 for elementary schools, $6,201 for middle schools, and $6,524 for high schools. To calculate each district’s allotment, the foundation level is multiplied by the district’s average daily membership. The state then subtracts the required local share of a 6-mill countywide school property tax and a 25-mill districtwide levy. If local revenues exceed the district’s foundation guarantee, the state recaptures the excess aid and distributes it to other districts. Wyoming’s formula includes adjustments to district entitlements for transportation, special education, cost-of-living, the experience and seniority of teachers, at-risk students, English-language learners, and vocational education students. Wyoming also has 15 categorical programs. The five largest are special education, transportation, major maintenance, education reform, and reading assessment.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Missouri
    Standards and Accountability: Missouri has clear and specific standards in science for the elementary, middle, and high school levels. But its English and mathematics standards lack clarity and specificity; its social studies/history standards are clear and specific only for middle schools and high schools.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Kansas
    Standards and Accountability: Kansas has tests aligned with state content standards in English, mathematics, and science, but not in social studies/history, in all grade spans.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Colorado
    Standards and Accountability: Colorado has clear and specific standards for English, mathematics, and science in all grade spans, but it has such standards only at the middle school level for social studies/history.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Kentucky
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education New Hampshire
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education New Jersey
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    2 min read
    Education Louisiana
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    4 min read
    Education District of Columbia
    Standards and Accountability: A strong accountability system has three main components: clear and specific standards in the core subjects at the elementary, middle, and high school levels; tests aligned with those standards; and methods of holding schools accountable for results, including help for schools rated as low-performing and rewards for high-performing or improving schools.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Alabama
    Standards and Accountability: Alabama’s mathematics and history standards are clear and specific at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. But its science standards are clear and specific for elementary and middle schools only. English standards are clear and specific solely at the elementary level.
    January 4, 2005
    4 min read
    Education Arizona
    Standards and Accountability: Arizona has a fairly strong standards-based system and uses its tests to hold schools accountable for results. Arizona is one of six states that have clear and specific standards in English, mathematics, science, and social studies/history in elementary, middle, and high school.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Mississippi
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    4 min read
    Education Washington
    Standards and Accountability: Washington state has set clear and specific standards in all grade spans for science and mathematics.
    January 4, 2005
    4 min read
    Education Oregon
    Standards and Accountability: The foundation of Oregon’s accountability system is nearly complete. The state has clear and specific standards at the elementary, middle, and high school levels for English, mathematics, and science, and at the middle and high school levels for social studies/history.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education West Virginia
    Standards and Accountability: West Virginia is one of 12 states that earned A’s for standards and accountability this year. The state has standards-based exams at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in English, mathematics, science, and social studies/history, making West Virginia one of 12 states to have such exams in every core subject and grade span. The tests also use a variety of items to measure student knowledge, including multiple-choice, short-answer, and extended-response questions.
    January 4, 2005
    4 min read
    Education Pennsylvania
    Standards and Accountability: Pennsylvania is one of six states with clear and specific standards at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in English, mathematics, science, and social studies/history.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Wisconsin
    Standards and Accountability: Wisconsin has adopted clear and specific standards in elementary, middle, and high school for English and mathematics. But an absence of clear and specific standards for science and social studies/history hurts the state’s grade in this category.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Wyoming
    Standards and Accountability: Wyoming’s standards are clear and specific for all grade spans solely in mathematics, according to ratings by the American Federation of Teachers. More than anything else, the lack of clear and specific standards in other core subjects reduces the state’s grade in this category.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education South Carolina
    Standards and Accountability: South Carolina is one of 12 states earning A’s in this category. The state has clear and specific standards in English, mathematics, and science at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, and in social studies/history at the middle and high school levels.
    January 4, 2005
    4 min read
    Education Tennessee
    Standards and Accountability: Tennessee has clear and specific standards in English, science, and social studies/history at the elementary and middle school levels, and in mathematics in all grade spans.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education North Dakota
    Standards and Accountability: North Dakota has clear and specific standards at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in mathematics and science, but not yet in social studies/history. The state has clear and specific standards in English at the elementary and middle school levels.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Nebraska
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Massachusetts
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Michigan
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Hawaii
    Standards and Accountability: Hawaii’s score improved from last year because it now has clear and specific standards in English in all grade spans, and in social studies/history in the middle and high school levels.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Minnesota
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Idaho
    Standards and Accountability: Idaho strengthened its grade this year by including an extended-response component in its English assessments at the elementary and middle school levels.
    January 4, 2005
    4 min read
    Education Rhode Island
    Standards and Accountability: Rhode Island has adopted standards in English, mathematics, and science, but not in social studies/history. Moreover, only its math and science standards are rated clear and specific by the American Federation of Teachers, an evaluation that significantly hurts the state’s grade.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education South Dakota
    Standards and Accountability: South Dakota is still missing key pieces of a strong accountability system. The state has clear and specific standards in mathematics and science for the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education North Carolina
    Student Achievement (NAEP 2003)
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Utah
    Standards and Accountability: Utah is off to a good start in building a standards-based system, but there’s room for growth.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Ohio
    Standards and Accountability: Ohio is one of 12 states that earned A’s in this category. The state has established clear and specific standards in English, mathematics, and science for elementary, middle, and high schools. Social studies/history standards are clear and specific at the middle and high school levels only.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Oklahoma
    Standards and Accountability: Oklahoma has clear and specific standards in English, mathematics, and science at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Clear and specific standards in social studies/history exist solely at the high school level.
    January 4, 2005
    3 min read
    Education Arizona
    The Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona has commissioned a study to determine what it would cost to provide the state’s students with an adequate education. Seven school districts have claimed that the state’s existing finance system is inadequate in Crane Elementary School District v. State. Arizona’s system allocates money to schools through a foundation formula. The formula is based on a foundation level ($2,893 for fiscal 2005) that is set by the legislature each year. Arizona calculates each district’s share of state aid by multiplying the foundation level by student enrollment and subtracting a local levy. The state does not require a minimum local effort for districts to receive state funding, but assumes districts will raise a qualifying tax rate of $1.8931 per $100,000 worth of property value. The state adjusts state aid accordingly. If a district is able to raise more than its share of state aid through its qualifying levy, the district receives no money from the foundation formula. State aid also is adjusted according to school size, grade level, the number of special education students, English-language learners, transportation needs, and teacher experience.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education District of Columbia
    The District of Columbia allocates money to its schools through the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula, a foundation formula. The same formula finances charter schools. Dollars are allocated for each student, with a per-pupil base cost of $6,904 in fiscal 2005. That figure is then weighted to provide additional support for different grade levels, alternative education, special education, English-language learners, summer school, and adult education. Since the nation’s capital is a single school district, it does not have such state policies as a required local effort. The local government makes appropriations separate from the foundation formula for categorical programs. Those programs support transportation for special education students, tuition payments for private placements for such students, and other state education agency functions that are not financed through the foundation formula. Washington’s mayor and the District of Columbia Council must review the foundation formula every four years, with input from the city’s regular and charter public schools. As part of that review, the local leaders must study the actual costs of providing education in the district.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Delaware
    Delaware is one of just five states that have never had lawsuits challenging their school finance systems. Delaware is also one of the few states that do not distribute money to schools based on a foundation formula. The state pays for education in three “divisions.” Division I provides funds for teacher salaries and compensation based on the state salary schedule. Division II is a uniform flat grant provided to every district in the state. Division III consists of state equalization aid. For the latter, the state provides money on a matching basis with local taxation to help ensure that unequal property wealth does not lead to inequitable school funding. Division I funding is based on such district characteristics as grade levels served, the number of special and vocational education students, and a “teacher experience index” that is based on a teacher’s years of experience and highest degree attained. Delaware also provides money to districts through 41 categorical programs. Some of those categorical programs include support for special education, reading initiatives, professional development, gifted-and-talented education, bilingual education, and early-childhood education.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Colorado
    Every district in Colorado is guaranteed a minimum of $5,627 per pupil in state and local revenue for the 2004-05 school year. Per-pupil funding is adjusted to account for variations across districts in cost of living and district size. In addition, districts receive money for each student who is eligible for free lunches. The state provides added money to districts based on how far each district’s percentage of students eligible for free lunches rises above the statewide average. A minimum local effort is not required for districts to receive state aid, but the state assumes that districts will raise a certain amount of revenue through local property taxes, and it adjusts state aid accordingly. The assumed effort is different for each district. Colorado also provides aid to districts through categorical funding. The state has eight categorical programs, the five largest of which support special education students, English-language learners, transportation, vocational education, and gifted-and-talented programs. Colorado’s state finance system is being challenged in court. The plaintiffs in Haley v. Colorado Department of Education, which was filed in the summer of 2002, contend that the state’s special education funding violates the state constitution.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Florida
    Florida pays for education through the Florida Education Finance Program, or FEFP, a foundation formula with a base per-pupil allocation of $3,670 for fiscal 2005. Under the formula, the base student allocation is multiplied by a weighted student enrollment, which includes adjustments for different grade levels, English-language learners, special education students, and those in vocational education programs. The per-student allocation also is adjusted by a cost-of-living factor to reflect the variations in living expenses across Florida’s 67 school districts. Other adjustments to the formula include additional money for small districts, safe schools, and supplemental academic instruction, such as tutoring and after-school programs. The state also provides money to districts through six categorical programs that are outside the FEFP, which help support transportation, literacy programs, professional development, class-size reduction, technology, and instructional materials. Total spending for categorical programs in fiscal 2004 was about $1.8 billion. Plaintiffs lost a challenge to Florida’s school finance system in 1996 in Coalition for Adequacy and Fairness in School Funding v. Chiles. A case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida challenging the state’s use of state-financed vouchers to send students to private schools is currently working its way through the courts.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Georgia
    Georgia pays for education through its Quality Basic Education program, a foundation formula. The formula is structured around a base per-pupil amount ($2,362 in fiscal 2005) that is multiplied by a weighted student enrollment. Several weights are incorporated into the formula for student and district characteristics, including adjustments for grade level, vocational education, special education, gifted students, remedial education, alternative education, and English-language learners. Georgia requires districts to raise a 5-mill property tax to participate in the QBE program. If a district does not do so, the yield it should have raised is deducted from its state aid allotment the next year. Georgia caps the amount of property-tax revenue local districts can collect above that 5-mill requirement at 20 mills total, but local voters can override the limit if they choose to raise more money for education. No taxes at the state level are dedicated to K-12 schooling. In 1981, Georgia successfully convinced the state supreme court that its school finance system was constitutional. But now the state faces a lawsuit brought by the Consortium for Adequate School Funding in Georgia.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Michigan
    In Michigan, the school finance system is based on a foundation formula, with a foundation level of $6,700 per pupil for fiscal 2005, provided by a combination of state and local resources. The foundation level is set every year by the legislature, but the figure has remained unchanged for several years. The state does not require districts to make a minimum local effort to receive state aid. Instead, Michigan assumes districts will raise an 18-mill property-tax levy and adjusts state aid accordingly. If a district is able to raise its entire per-pupil foundation guarantee by levying that local property tax, the district does not receive state foundation-formula aid. Michigan does not weight or adjust the foundation level for student or district characteristics. It did, however, provide more than $676 million in categorical aid in fiscal 2004, which is spread over 28 different programs. Michigan provides categorical support for programs such as special education transportation, aid for students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, gifted-and-talented education, bilingual education, and early-childhood education. Michigan is one of the most active states in dedicating specific revenues to education. The state has a lottery dedicated to education and earmarks revenue from the following sources: sales and use taxes, education property tax (6 mills), cigarette tax, tax on other tobacco products, liquor excise tax, state casino-wagering tax, real-estate-transfer tax, and commercial-facilities tax.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Missouri
    A group called the Committee for Educational Equality successfully sued Missouri in the early 1990s, and in January 2004 the organization filed a second lawsuit. The most recent suit argues that the state’s school finance system is unconstitutional for both equity and adequacy reasons. A 2003 adequacy study sponsored by a group of education, business, and philanthropic organizations found that the state needed to add more than $900 million in annual funding for education. Missouri’s current finance system is based on a foundation formula and the number of pupils in each district. The foundation level for school year 2004-05, including both state and local resources, is $4,277 per pupil. To receive state aid, districts must levy a $1.25 property tax for every $100 in assessed valuation. The state does not adjust aid for specific student needs, although the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches is a variable in the at-risk-funding calculation used to determine whether a district qualifies for “hold harmless” funding. Hold-harmless districts are guaranteed at least the amount of state aid they received in the 1992-93 school year, when the state implemented a new finance system. Missouri has categorical programs that support transportation, special education, gifted-and-talented education, professional development, and early-childhood education.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Montana
    Montana’s school finance system was declared unconstitutional in November 2004. The Montana Supreme Court struck down the current system and gave the state legislature until Oct. 1, 2005, to come up with a new funding formula that is based on “educationally relevant factors.” The current system relies on a foundation formula that is based on different foundation levels for each grade level. To adjust for economies of scale, the first elementary student in the district receives the full foundation level; as district enrollment approaches 1,000 students, each additional student receives 20 to 50 cents less. After 1,000 students, each additional pupil receives the same amount as the 1,000th student. The same calculations are made for middle and high school students, but the foundation level is adjusted for up to 800 students. No other adjustments are included in the formula, and no minimum local effort is required. Montana has 12 categorical programs, totaling $130 million for fiscal 2004. Categorical aid provides support for special education, transportation, school facilities, technology, and teacher retirement.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education Nevada
    In each biennial legislative session, Nevada determines a guaranteed basic-support level per student. For the 2004-05 school year, the figure is $4,424. Then, unique basic-support levels per student are determined for each school district, using Nevada’s Distributive School Account Equity Allocation Model. The model takes into account such district characteristics as variations in cost of living, school size, administrative costs, and transportation costs. The school finance system also mandates two local taxes that must be levied in all districts: a 2.25 percent sales tax, and a property-tax levy of 25 cents for every $100 of assessed valuation. If the yield from those two sources is greater than the district’s foundation amount, the district does not receive formula aid. Although most of the state share of funding comes from the state general fund, Nevada has several taxes dedicated to education. There is a state property tax of 75 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, an out-of-state sales tax, an estate tax, and an annual slot-machine license fee. Nevada is one of just five states in which there have never been lawsuits challenging their school finance systems.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education New Hampshire
    Responding to rulings by the New Hampshire Supreme Court in the several Claremont cases against the state’s school finance system, the state made major changes in 1999, switching from a local to a statewide property tax. New Hampshire also has tried to incorporate the concept of an adequate education into its foundation formula. The state calculated the foundation level for the formula, the “average per-pupil adequacy cost,” based on the actual spending in certain districts. Each biennium, the state adjusts the figure for inflation. For fiscal 2005, it is $3,390. This amount is then multiplied by the average daily membership for each district. The state adds money for students in poverty, with each student eligible for free or reduced-price meals counting as 1.6 students in the formula. The state also provides equalization aid for property-poor districts. School systems with a per-pupil assessed valuation that is below 90 percent of the state’s per-pupil assessed valuation receive more state aid. New Hampshire dedicates 100 percent of the proceeds from its state lottery to education. Additional money comes from the tobacco tax, the business-enterprise tax, real-estate-transfer taxes, and state property taxes.
    January 4, 2005
    1 min read
    Education New York
    Since the 2000-01 school year, New York has suspended the use of its percentage-equalizing school finance formula used to distribute the majority of unrestricted state aid to districts. Districts now simply receive a percentage increase over the previous year’s allotment. For the 2004-05 school year, districts receive a 1.75 percent increase in funding over the previous year. The state has also continued several other appropriations. For example, additional money is provided to districts based on pupil-transportation costs, capital-construction activity, and services for students with disabilities, among other purposes. New York provides additional state aid to districts through 30 categorical programs, totaling $960 million in fiscal 2004. Those programs provide extra support for literacy and reading initiatives, class-size reduction, professional development, bilingual education, early-childhood education, and technology. New York state’s school finance system was ruled unconstitutional in 2003, in Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) v. State. Since then, several adequacy studies have been conducted, with varying results. In December, the state’s highest court accepted a report from a three-member referee panel that found an additional $5.6 billion must be spent on schoolchildren in New York City each year to meet constitutional guarantees for education.
    January 4, 2005
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    Education North Carolina
    North Carolina pays for education using three basic allotments: position, dollar, and categorical. The position allotments serve as a foundation formula because the number of teaching positions required is statutorily mandated. Teacher positions are distributed based on legislated student-to-teacher ratios for each grade level. For example, the student-to-teacher ratio required for grades K-2 is 18-to-1. The dollar-allotment portion of state aid provides money for local districts to hire employees or buy materials for a specific purpose. No other adjustments or weights are included in the formula, aside from the different student-to-teacher ratios for different grade levels. North Carolina provides more than a quarter of state education dollars through the third allotment—categorical aid. Total spending on categorical programs for fiscal 2004 was more than $1.6 billion. North Carolina lost its school finance battle in Hoke County Board of Education v. State. Last summer, the state supreme court affirmed a lower court’s decision that the state had failed in its constitutional duty to provide students in Hoke County with the opportunity to obtain a “sound basic education.” In addition, the high court affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the state must act to correct the deficiency.
    January 4, 2005
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    Education Ohio
    Ohio had been fighting a lawsuit mounted by the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding since 1991. The state system for financing education has been ruled unconstitutional three times, but the state supreme court decided to end its jurisdiction in the case, DeRolph v. State, in December 2003. Ohio pays for education through a foundation formula that is based on the concept of adequacy. To calculate the foundation level, the state chose a group of districts that had met certain standards on state tests and had also achieved certain attendance and graduation rates in grades 4, 6, 9, 10, and 12. Then, using measures of income and property wealth, the state removed the top and bottom 5 percent of districts from its calculation. From the remaining districts, the state calculated the average base-cost expenditure, which was used as the foundation level. In subsequent years, the state has adjusted that number for inflation. For the 2004-05 school year, the foundation level is $5,169. Local districts are required to levy a 20-mill property tax to receive state aid, but districts can also raise their share through a district income tax. Ohio’s funding formula includes adjustments for such district characteristics as variations in the cost of living, special education students, vocational education students, and the education and experience levels of teachers. The state also provides grants to districts, based on their concentrations of economically disadvantaged pupils.
    January 4, 2005
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    Education Oklahoma
    Oklahoma is conducting a “legislative interim study” to review its school finance system, focused on how to determine a base foundation level that would drive the state’s foundation formula. The foundation level for the 2004-05 school year is $2,618, but the state is considering using the concept of adequacy to determine that amount in the future. The state is investigating choosing a select group of successful schools and basing the foundation level on actual expenditures in those districts. Currently, the school finance formula multiplies the foundation level by a weighted student enrollment. The weighted enrollment includes adjustments for the number of special education students, English-language learners, students in poverty, and those in gifted-and-talented programs. Oklahoma also makes adjustments in its formula for small schools, different grade levels, teacher experience and education, and the geographic isolation of districts. Oklahoma also has 27 categorical programs that provide money for such efforts as reading initiatives, professional development, textbooks, employee health benefits, and teacher retirement. The total spent on those programs for fiscal 2004 was $412 million. In November, voters approved measures that will create a new state lottery and dedicate a portion of its revenue to schools.
    January 4, 2005
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    Education Washington
    Washington assumes full responsibility for financing education, although the state still uses federal money to help in doing so. Districts are not required to provide any local funding, but they may supplement state aid with local revenue. State aid is primarily distributed based on student enrollment, which then determines the number of instructional, administrative, and staff positions necessary in each district. The state then multiplies the required positions by their respective salary levels, based on district averages. Staffing ratios are determined by the different grade levels served, the number of students in vocational education, district enrollment growth, and school size. In addition to the full-state-funding portion of the education finance system, the state provides supplemental aid to property-poor districts to equalize local tax efforts. The state also provides aid to districts through categorical programs. The state has such programs for special education, transportation, bilingual education, gifted-and-talented students, reading initiatives, capital outlays and debt service, vocational education, class-size reduction, and technology. The nine categorical programs in the state added up to almost $1.3 billion in state aid for fiscal 2004. The state is one of several working with the Washington-based Council of Chief State School Officers to determine the costs of carrying out the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
    January 4, 2005
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    Education Oregon
    Oregon’s system of paying for education has undergone challenges in court four times, but the state courts have never ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. Oregon’s current school finance system is based on a foundation formula, which allocates money to districts by multiplying the fiscal 2005 foundation level of $4,500 by a weighted student enrollment. A local minimum levy is not required for districts to receive state aid, but the state assumes districts will raise a certain amount of revenue, and it subtracts that figure from the foundation amount. Oregon’s formula uses weights to provide additional money for special education students, English-language learners, students in poverty, pregnant or parenting students, neglected and delinquent students, and students in foster homes. The state also makes an adjustment for districts with small schools, different grade levels served, and teacher experience. Oregon has three categorical programs that provided $157 million in aid to districts in fiscal 2004. Those programs provide support for student transportation, high-cost special education students, and classroom materials in renovated schools. The Oregon Quality Education Commission, which is a state task force, has developed the Quality Education Model to determine the cost of an adequate education on an ongoing basis. The model uses the “professional judgment” method to calculate the level of funding required for 90 percent of Oregon’s students to meet state standards.
    January 4, 2005
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    Education West Virginia
    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.
    January 4, 2005
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    Education Alabama
    In 1993, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled in Alabama Coalition for Equity v. Hunt that the state’s school finance system was unconstitutional. In 1995, the state implemented a new foundation formula that incorporated some of the concerns raised in the court case. Under the new program, funds are allocated based on teacher and instructional-support units. The state calculates the number of teacher units required for each school by taking the school’s average daily membership and dividing it by student-to-teacher ratios for different grade levels established by the legislature. Instructional-support units consist of positions for principals, assistant principals, counselors, librarians, and secretaries. The state calculates the money associated with each teacher and instructional-support unit for every school based on four factors: the costs of teacher salaries, employee benefits, classroom support, and other current expenses. Alabama’s formula also incorporates adjustments for vocational and special education programs. The state bases the adjustments on a percentage of the total average daily membership in each district, not the number of students participating in the programs. To receive state aid, each district must levy a 10-mill property tax or its equivalent through a 1-cent sales tax. Alabama also provides money for schools through eight categorical programs, including transportation, preschool education, programs for at-risk students, and school construction.
    January 4, 2005
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