State school funding formula too generous to wealthy districts, report says

“This research and analysis shows that there’s a massive scale of inequity that’s baked into the current state aid formula,” Ed Lambert, executive director of the business alliance, said in a phone interview.

Lambert said the formula was intended to put more money into needy districts to help offset limited local funding and “fulfill the constitutional requirement to make sure that all students were getting access to a high-quality education.”

“Over time what has happened, and what the report points out, is that additions and/or changes have been made … to expand parts of the formula in ways that allowed all communities to benefit, whether they had the capacity to fund education on their own or not,” Lambert said.

State Representative Alice Peisch, co-chairwoman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education, said in a phone interview Sunday that “at the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of the funds

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Mass. school funding formula gives wealthy districts more aid than they need



a large city


© John Tlumacki / Boston Globe


The formula for distributing state funding to schools in Massachusetts gives wealthier districts more money than they need, creating a widening equity gap at the expense of students in low-income communities, according to a report released Monday from the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. 

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The two groups found in their analysis that some factors in the funding formula result in wealthier districts getting additional state money, despite being able to fully fund their schools “with less or no state aid.”

“Equitable access to resources is an essential component of closing equity and opportunity gaps,” Ed Lambert, executive director of Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, said in a statement. “It is critical, particularly in this economic climate, that we redirect state dollars to communities serving students that need them the most.”

The Chapter 70 funding formula,

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Local schools could lose millions under current funding formula

Johnson County schools could lose millions of dollars if virtual students aren’t fully funded by the state.

As it stands, starting in January, virtual students will be funded at just 85% of the rate of an in-school student if that student attends school in-person less than half the time.

Gov. Eric Holcomb earlier this month said he would ask the Indiana State Board of Education to call a special meeting to delay the fall count of student enrollment, known as the Average Daily Membership, through at least December. That count is used to set new funding levels for schools.

Center Grove schools, the county’s largest district, stands to lose the most of any Johnson County school district if the current funding formula is used. The district shifted from full-time in-person learning at its high school and two middle schools this week after the school district reported 316 COVID-19-related student absences,

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Laura Sibilia & Katherine Sims: School funding formula unfair to children and taxpayers

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Rep. Laura Sibilia, an independent who represents the Windham-Bennington district in the Vermont House of Representatives, and Katherine Sims, of Craftsbury, the director of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative and a Democratic candidate for the Vermont House.

For the last 20 years, our public education system has overtaxed and underfunded schools in Vermont’s rural and poor towns. According to the Pupil Weighting Factors Report commissioned by the Legislature to study equity in Vermont’s education funding formula, we incentivize spending less on students who cost more to educate and more on students who cost less to educate. Over the past 20 years, this has resulted in fewer opportunities and increased costs for poor and rural schools and higher taxes for Vermonters.

Despite the best efforts of our school boards, the chronic underfunding has stretched budgets to an extreme and left our schools with challenges like long

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