Funding plan puts burden on districts

Published 9:19 am Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A proposal to change the state’s education funding formula could increase per-pupil spending, but it looks like local school districts will be picking up the tab.

That means local taxpayers can expect to spend more on education.

Under the proposal from EdBuild, wealthier school districts could receive less money from the state. But schools could receive more for educating low-income students and those who don’t speak English as their first language, The Associated Press reported.

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The per-pupil cost would depend on several variables, including how much would be spent on technology, classroom supplies and professional development for teachers.

The state currently guarantees at least 73 percent of school funding will come from the state, but EdBuild recommends that lawmakers consider reducing the state’s portion. The national average is 55 percent, according to EdBuild.

That would obviously shift more of the funding burden to local taxpayers and that’s likely to get some pushback.

Until EdBuild can show exactly how each school district will be impacted, it’s difficult to evaluate the proposal. Proponents will praise the proposal’s call to spend more on students in some circumstances. Critics will point to the added financial burden that will be placed on local school districts and local taxpayers.

“The Legislature shouldn’t seriously consider anything until we’ve got the real impact on local districts,” said Nancy Loome, leader of the Parents’ Campaign, an education advocacy group.

We agree. Until more details are provided, lawmakers should reserve judgement on the plan.