Home > Uncategorized > “Emergency” Cuts, Adjustments to Funding Formulas Become Permanent and Inequities Expand

“Emergency” Cuts, Adjustments to Funding Formulas Become Permanent and Inequities Expand

The Washington Post wrote yesterday about a recent study completed by researchers at the Commonwealth Institute, a Richmond-based think tank, which concluded that “...Virginia schools are being shortchanged $800 million a year ­because of formulas that under­­estimate what it actually costs to educate children.” How did this happen? As reported by Moriah Balingit  it is the result of an adjustment to the ending formulas to Virginia schools made during the height of recession. Instead of cutting the budget during the recession, the legislature changed the funding formulas and, in doing so, increased the inequity in school funding by shortchanging the schools serving poor children in that state.

Poor districts that rely more on state funding felt the brunt of the cuts. The study said Lee County lost nearly $2,500 per student between 2009 and 2014, accounting for inflation, the most of any district in the state. Lee County is among the poorest counties in Virginia and spent approximately $12,000 per student in the 2013-2014 school year, so the losses had a sizable impact on the district’s budget.

Some of Virginia’s poor counties struggled to make up for the losses in state funds. The cut in state education funding blunted the ability of the state to act as an equalizer… and was felt disproportionately by poor districts.

After reading this article about the work of a left-leaning think tank in a state led by a Democrat I wondered how changes in funding played out in states like, say, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kansas, Texas, and Illinois where conservatives were in the State house and dominated the legislature? I don’t think it takes an advanced degree in political science to know the answer.

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