by Anna Manning
Carolina Journal reports on Education Finance Workshop held at the John Locke Foundation on Tuesday:
On Tuesday, Jan. 29, the John Locke Foundation co-hosted an education finance workshop with the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, and Allovue, a K-12 budget and financing software company. The workshop focused on ways of improving the state’s public education funding system to ensure a more equitable, effective, and transparent process.
The bulk of K-12 public education funding in North Carolina comes from the state and goes to each local school district through position and category allotments — spending formulas for items such as teachers, principals, textbooks, and transportation. Districts receive additional money from the General Assembly for students with disabilities, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students.
Aaron Smith, education policy analyst at Reason Foundation, said the importance of school finance can be explained using a football metaphor.
“Teachers and principals are the most important factors in education, but just as a weak offensive line inhibits a quarterback, an ineffective school finance system restricts those closest to the kids,” Smith said. “An effective school finance system provides the foundation for student success.”
North Carolina’s education funding model is unfair, opaque, and restrictive, Smith said. The state’s funding model — based on staffing and categorical allotments — restricts local school district autonomy; forces district to focus more on compliance than outcomes; leads to unfair allocations; and erects barriers to school choice.
Read more here, including suggested reforms.