Reason Foundation’s new Weighted Student Formula Yearbook touts letting funding — based on student need — follow the student.
The results from districts using student-based funding are very promising. Prior to 2008, less than half of Hartford, Connecticut’s education money made it to the classroom. Now, over 70 percent makes it there. As a result, the district’s schools posted the largest gains, over three times the average increase, on the state’s Mastery Tests in 2007-08.
San Francisco and Oakland school districts have posted better-than-average gains.
In 2008, Baltimore City Schools faced a $76.9 million budget shortfall. But Superintendent Andres Alonso instituted weighted student formula. He identified $165 million in budget cuts at the central office to eliminate the deficit and redistributed approximately $88 million in central office funds to the schools. By the 2010 school year, Alonso will have cut 489 non-essential teaching jobs from the central office, redirecting 80 percent of the district’s operating budget to schools.
“Principals should have autonomy over their budgets and control the hiring of teachers for their schools,” the foundation concludes.