Need based School Funding Formula Disputed

Peter Gascoyne made an excellent point in recent comment regarding “No free lunch”. In other words, a change that’s positive in one area may not be all that great for others. Beverly Creamer notes that Hawaii is implementing a new Weighted Student Formula that is not without controversy:

A new controversy is shaping up over how money is divided among the state’s public schools under a formula based on student need.
Small and rural schools were expected to suffer staggering monetary losses under a new Weighted Student Formula that will take effect with the new school year July 27. And even though the losses were averted with an extra $20 million from the Legislature, the outcry over the expected impact on small and rural schools generated widespread concern.
Now, a special Department of Education committee charged with re-examining the formula has proposed a key change intended primarily to address wide discrepancies in funding between the largest and smallest schools.
Under the plan, each school would receive a base amount — or “foundation grant” — to assure that each could afford essential positions. The foundation grants would amount to about 25 percent of total school funding, leaving much less to be divided according to student need.