The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Rich schools vs poor schools: Indiana

A recent study ( here is the Star's editorial on it) seems to show that the gap in school funding between rich schools and poor schools is smaller in Indiana than in other states. In fact, through the General Fund funding formula, Indiana actually pays additional funds to schools with more non-English speaking students, and students on free and reduced lunches.

I wonder whether there is a gap or even if it is inverted in some cases when you factor in federal dollars as well? I did this study for our district once with spreadsheet data provided by the state department and found that despite Wawasee's high property wealth per student (go here, type in "Wawasee", go down the page and click on "top 10 corporations," choose "assessed value per A.D.M." and you will see we are number 2 in the state) , yet, we were still under state averages in per pupil revenue. When I factored in federal grant dollars it drove us even lower.

In other words, most of these studies usually involve state funding only, not additional federal grant revenue which is almost always distributed based on poverty and other at-risk factors.

Indiana has pretty much "uncoupled" property wealth from state General Fund expenditures. In other words, just because a school has high property values doesn't mean they get a lot more money to spend on instruction. Overall, this isn't a bad thing, at least from the standpoint of equity around the state. When you review this country's history of inequities - you can see why school funding formulas had to change.

However, the study shows that inequities do exist in facilities and projects. Why? Because those are more often local decisions, not state decisions. The local community may want to purchase "artifical turf" for the football stadium or some other perceived "luxury." In districts with high property wealth, even a very small rise in taxes can generate a lot of revenue for such things.

On a broader scale this is a perfect, textbook example of the liberty VS. equity tug-of-war. The more equity the less freedom. The more freedom - the less equity.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really wish I could understand the reasoning behind hiring some teachers and not others. The more I see teachers hired the more anoyed I become. Also, Why is it that a teacher was "hired" at least a month ago for a job that was just posted today?

Dr. Mark J. Stock said...

Call me at 574-457-3188 or e-mail using the link on the sidebar.

It is usually best when everyone tries to keep the comments "on-topic" as much as possible.