Idaho’s Public School Funding Formula Committee met again today as part of the ongoing process of revamping the state’s methodology for distributing funds to school districts. Third-party vendor ECS (Education Commission of the States) presented workable spreadsheets that Committee members will be able to study and manipulate over the coming weeks as they work toward their final recommendations.
The primary items for the Committee to consider are exactly how much extra weighting to place on specific sub-groups of the student population that require extra funding. These sub-groups are: At-risk, English Language Learners, Special Education, and Gifted/Talented. The Committee and ECS also discussed the need to decide on the most appropriate definition(s) of at-risk students.
The Committee will also have to decide on the best model to account for extra weighting for small schools, as well as minimum funding structures, and “hold harmless” policies and timelines. Committee members indicated that they expect the Career Ladder salary allocation policy to remain in place.
The next scheduled meeting is September 24, 2018, after which there will be another round of public outreach. Final recommendations are expected to be made in late November. Since the resolution creating the interim committee expires November 30, 2018, there were discussions on how to extend their tenure, so they can formally present final recommendations to the legislature in the upcoming session. The new funding formula would likely be effective with the 2020-21 school year, with a multi-year phase-in process.
The IEA will be meeting again with the Education Commission of the States and will be providing feedback and input throughout the process. Both the IEA and the Idaho School Boards Association have publicly encouraged the Committee to include technology funding within the overall framework of the public school funding formula. Our statement on that particular topic is below.
“The Idaho Education Association is asking the Public School Funding Formula Committee to strongly consider including technology funding for school districts within the overall framework of the new public school funding formula. Technology funding decisions are best made by local school districts, which are most effectively positioned to assess their own needs and distribute funds accordingly.
The IEA position is in concurrence with the concerns expressed by the Idaho School Boards Association to members of the Public School Funding Formula Committee. To this point, the Committee has opted to exclude technology funding from the formula. As final decisions are made over the coming months, we encourage the Committee to revisit this tentative determination and consider including technology funding with the rest of the pro-rata items in the overall funding formula.
The Public School Funding Formula has done tremendous work in tackling a complex issue over the last two years. We can see the progress being made toward long-term solutions that will benefit students and educators throughout the state. The IEA is especially pleased that the process has been transparent and input from a wide variety of sources has been included.”
A video recording of the Public School Funding Formula Committee meeting can be downloaded here.