Florida's education funding unfair to poor students, report says
The Florida Board of Education will continue its discussion on 2013-14 funding during its meeting this morning.
A new report from the Education Law Center and Rutgers University offers some insight that board members might want to keep in mind. Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card gives Florida poor marks in all four of the categories used to determine whether states provide adequate funding to account for the added needs of students in poverty.
The group ranks Florida:
• 40th in funding level (overall level of state and local revenue provided to school districts, comparing each state’s average per-pupil revenue with other states)
• 45th for coverage (proportion of school age children in public vs. nonpublic schools)
• D for funding distribution (distribution of funding across local districts within a state, relative to student poverty)
• F for state effort (state spending vs. per capital gross domestic product)
Overall, the report places Florida alongside Missouri and North Carolina as "low-effort, regressive states."
From the conclusion:
"This report demonstrates the need to understand fair school funding as the essential precondition for the delivery of high-quality education. As the nation engages in the important discussions of how to improve our schools, we encourage stakeholders to recognize that no reform can be successful unless built upon an equitable and fair funding system. As these important debates about educational improvement continue, we hope that the National Report Card will contribute valuable information that helps determine the direction of public education policy at the local, state and federal levels."
The rankings are based on 2007-2009 data. Florida's funding levels have declined since.