Thursday, January 5, 2017

Why America's Schools Have a Money Problem

I post this link, because it is a common reason stated as to why America's schools have a funding problem.  It is not incorrect, but it misses a couple big issues in the discussion.

Why America's Schools Have a Money Problem

The article has an interactive map that shows the average spending per student for every district in America.  Its conclusion is that the inequality of property tax revenues is the main cause of funding inequality between districts.  Utah's schools are mostly equalized by state law, unlike those cited, but that means they are all low.  The article is correct regarding property tax problems to a certain degree.  I might also add that for the western states it is difficult to fund schools when the federal government owns 60-70% of the land, but doesn't pay property tax.  It pays a small amount in lieu of taxes, but not nearly what property tax revenues would be.  The eastern states have almost all of their land owned privately and paying the tax.  That gives them a huge advantage, and they generally have less children too, so less students to spend it on with more revenues to begin with.

This doesn't tell the whole story however. It doesn't tell the mandated interventions for different problems that some districts have. In other words, some districts have much bigger problems with their student populations than other districts have, which government requires them then to spend more on. Some districts that are spending more may have less to spend for the average student because of these mandates.

If you compare Ogden SD with Alpine SD, you will find that Ogden spends an average of $8181. Alpine spends $5409. That's not what is spend on the average student. That is the total spent divided by the number of students. It looks like Ogden is way better off.

However Ogden has more students with interventions prescribed compared to total students than Alpine has. They are required to spend that extra on them, so in some cases those that spend more may actually have less for the regular student - all because of government intrusion, mostly federal.

Much of the so-called "waste" in administration, etc., in school district spending is not district caused. It is federal government caused, yet we unfairly blame the local districts who have their hands tied. THAT is the message that needs to get out in order to get enough support to free ourselves from federal government tyranny. The federal government mandates cost us more than the funds they provide! (What else is new?!)

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