EQUITY AND ADEQUACY IN SCHOOL FUNDING

Citation
Jg. Augenblick et al., EQUITY AND ADEQUACY IN SCHOOL FUNDING, The Future of children, 7(3), 1997, pp. 63-78
Citations number
20
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Journal title
ISSN journal
1054-8289
Volume
7
Issue
3
Year of publication
1997
Pages
63 - 78
Database
ISI
SICI code
1054-8289(1997)7:3<63:EAAISF>2.0.ZU;2-R
Abstract
Since 1971, most states have been subject to lawsuits seeking to refor m their education funding systems. These cases are litigated on the ba sis of state (not federal) constitutional language and generally seek either greater equity in funding among school districts or a guarantee d level of adequate funding for education. State supreme courts have f ound the finance systems unconstitutional in 16 states, and many state s are still actively involved in litigation. Even where litigation has not occurred or has not succeeded, the prospect of litigation has pro mpted revisions of state funding policies. Despite the predominant rol e equity and adequacy play in litigation, there are no universally acc epted definitions for either of these words in education funding. Most commonly, equity is measured in terms of the variation in per-pupil r evenues among school districts in a single state. By this measure, som e states have greater funding equity than others, and in most states w ealthy districts have significantly higher per-pupil expenditures than do poor districts. Equity is likely to be greater when the residents of poor districts pay higher taxes. (In some states, residents in poor er areas pay twice as much of their income in local taxes as do reside nts of wealthier communities.) Equity is also greater in those states where the state's share of the education budget is higher and where th e state consistently targets its contributions to lower-income distric ts. Much of current litigation and legislative activity in education f unding seeks to assure ''adequacy,'' that is, a sufficient level of fu nding to deliver an adequate education to every student in the state. Most states have not explicitly addressed the questions of how much ed ucation is ''adequate'' or how educational standards can be converted to a finance formula. Several approaches to calculating the cost of an adequate education are described.