Here We Go Again: Education Funding

AGAIN – The NC Public School Forum releases a Local School Finance Study. In fact, they have been doing this study annually for 25 years, and AGAIN it simply does not present an accurate view of education spending in the state.

The report only examines the county supplements given to schools, which accounts for 24 percent of spending.  Through various graphs the report emphasized the wide spending gaps between counties and then uses a formula to determine the county’s ability to spend.

What exactly is the Forum’s goal – maybe to shame some counties into putting more into education funding, or shaming the state to put more into education funding for those districts that get less.  I not sure of their motives, but the report is totally misleading.

AGAIN, public school funding does NOT differ significantly across counties when ALL SPENDING is included. So while the numbers have changed over the year the basic philosophical view of the report remains the same, and the response to the report remains the same.

The Locke Foundation published a Spotlight on this issue back in 2004, “Equity in School Finance – Contrary to Myth, District Funding Varies Little.” The summary of the Spotlight says it all:

“If policy makers continue to debate perceived injustices in county education funding, injustices said to be derived from overreliance on property taxes, they will continue to miss the point . . ..  Public education already receives a significant amount of money.  Policy makers should focus more effort on getting higher value for the dollars already invested.”



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