After 15 years without a statewide school funding formula, Rhode Island has set baseline funding per student with 40 percent more for low-income students, reports Education Week.
For years, the state’s districts have had wide disparities in per-pupil funding, ranging from $11,000 per student in one poorer district to more than $19,000 per student in more affluent communities.
. . . The state also will assume more of the costs for special education students with particularly intense needs, regional transportation, and school construction as the new formula takes effect.
Critics say the formula should provide more for educating special education students and students who aren’t fluent in English. Deborah A. Gist, Rhode Island’s education commissioner, said the idea was rejected because of “national studies and data on how certain weights had led to spikes in the numbers of students identified as English-language learners and special education students.”
You get what you pay for.
Is a 40 percent funding premium enough to give poor students the extra help they need? Maybe not.