This month’s paper version of Carolina Journal* has a fascinating editorial entitled “The Truth About Student Funding”. It is has three examples of how much funding (from the state, federal and local levels) a sample “student” would be expected to be allocated. These facts should give any prudent taxpayer cause for concern.
The base amount taken from taxpayers and then “provided” by the state is $5,511 per elementary student (probably on the low end of the average for private school, although that would not include transportation). But what’s troubling is that there are other ways that local school districts can expect to get more money per pupil. The following facts explain a lot about the behavior of school system administrators.
1) Any child with an “Individualized Education Program” (IEP) has $3,501 additional funding allocated from the state. That’s a 64% increase in funding! No wonder so many kids are being “diagnosed” with ADHD these days!
2) A child from a “low-income” family will bring in an additional $356 in state funds. Not all that much, but the availability of additional funding sure gives schools an incentive to look the other way if anyone fudges the numbers on the reduced price lunch forms. (“Low-income” children are also eligible for increased federal funding, but the article did not give details on the federal figures so I cannot comment on them at the moment.)
3) Children from “low-wealth” counties earn their school districts an additional $268 per student. That certainly doesn’t given those counties any incentive to raise their property taxes to pay for education, does it? What it does do is cause those counties that are not “low-wealth” to pay for educating their own children plus those from other counties.
I’m sure there is lots more to this story if you delve into the numbers deeper. Just “follow the money, honey”!
*Unfortunately, it’s only available online or by mail, not as an insert in the paper Rhino.