Photo courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action
What one change should states make to improve their state finance system? That was the final question posed to panelists during an Urban Institute-hosted discussion on school finance.
- Ary Amerikaner of The Education Trust said states need to own their finance data so researchers and parents can access and understand, and additionally take responsibility for making sure the state’s values match the policies of their funding system.
- Dan Thatcher of the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) said legislators should look at reforming their funding formula system in conjunction with larger reforms to the school delivery system.
- Marguerite Roza, director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University, said states should require school board members to do training on finance because they are ultimately responsible for how those dollars are spent.
Among other topics, panelists discussed the role of state funding in school finance. The panel accompanied a new report from the Urban Institute on state-level school finance. The report, Making Sense of State School Funding Policy, discusses the three different ways states tend to fund schools. According to the report, each system has challenges and benefits for their taxpayers and each creates unique incentives for districts.
The report documents the range of tools policymakers can use to distribute funds to schools. For advocates looking to engage stakeholders on funding formulas, this report and panel discussion are good starting points.