Posts Tagged ‘Financing Public Education’

EDCI 506 Financing Public Education Week #6

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Financing Public Education 

Why is there so much concern over funding public schools in the United States today?

In my opinion, there is so much concern over funding for public schools in the U.S. today because there just simply is not enough money to sustain the type of public schools that everyone hopes to have.  Parents want their children to be able to go to the best schools where the best teachers work and where the best and most advanced technology is available for their children.  Teachers and administrators want to work in a place that provides them with decent wages, and enough money to engage in professional development.  Community members also want local schools to be performing high because they want the students in their community to turn out to be productive members of society.  Overall, everyone wants the best for public schools, but one of the only ways to get the best is to have more funding and that is why there is so much concern over the issue.

Where does the money come from?

The money that funds public schools comes from three different places: local, state, and federal revenues.  The local revenue makes up about “…44 percent of total school expenditures” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 237).  The local revenue is then comprised of funds from different areas including property tax (77% of local funding), user fees, and exclusive product rights.  Property tax is based on the market value and assessed value of a property; the tax rate is applied to the assessed value, which essentially is a percentage of the assessed value.  User fees are charges based on groups using certain facilities, and exclusive product rights is when a school agrees to only sell a certain brands products in exchange for funding (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  State revenues, which provides close to 47% of funding for public schools, are comprised of sales taxes, personal income taxes, and other state taxes.  Sales taxes are placed on certain goods, personal income taxes are based on a percentage of personal yearly income, and other state taxes can come from areas such as fuel tax, gift tax, and corporate income tax (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  Federal revenues are administered to states in the forms of grants.  There are two types of grants, categorical and block.  Categorical grants are designated for a specific group of people, whereas, block grants are for general purposes without any specific group in mind (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  Every state however, has the choice to accept federal funds or not (10 Facts About K-12 Education Funding).

Why are there different funding configurations among states?

There are different funding configurations among states because the amount of funding each state has and the budget plan set up for each state is different.  Close to 90% of public school funding comes from the state and local revenues, and each state is different in those areas.  Some states do not even have a personal income tax, which makes up about 35% of state revenues.  According to our textbook, “nine states do not levy a state personal income tax” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 241).  Other components that make funding configurations different among states are the local tax base and overall wealth of an area.  If a district has wealthy residents, shopping malls, and other commercial places to spend money at, than the school is more likely to have more funding.  If, however, a school is in a poor district where the residents are in poverty and do not have money to spend on extra things, than the school is going to have less funding (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  These factors are ones that no one has control over, which makes it so funding configurations among states and local districts are different.

What current trends are shaping educational finance?

One current trend shaping educational finance is the Race to the Top program.  According to the U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top is

A competitive grant program to encourage and reward States that are implementing significant reforms in the four education areas described in the ARRA:  enhancing standards and assessments, improving the collection and use of data, increasing teacher effectiveness and achieving equity in teacher distribution, and turning around struggling schools. (Race to the Top Program, 2010)

Because of this program, many schools are trying to make improvements in the four areas listed in order to receive the race to the top federal grant, which is ultimately shaping educational finance.  Another trend that is shaping educational finance is the current economic situation.  We are in the biggest recession since the great depression, which means money is not flowing and is certainly not reaching the schools.

Create a plan for raising funds for education and distribute those funds equitably to all school districts within Virginia.

Virginia could host a Day for Education, in which every district across Virginia would be mandated to participate.  This would be fun day so people would want to participate.  The Day for Education would involve each district coming up with a local fund raising idea, whether all of the science classes have been growing plants and they are going to have an auction, or the students have put together a fashion show with slightly worn clothes and are planning on auctioning all of the clothes off, or maybe the school will host a carnival where all of the games and activities were created by students.  The fundraiser will be solely determined by each district, and will hopefully be created by the students themselves as a way to get their minds working and to help foster school spirit.  The goal of the day is to raise the most money out of all of the districts in Virginia, and the district that raises the most money will be recognized.  All of the money however will be placed into one “bowl” and then each district will be allocated a percentage of the money based on their student population (amount of students and specific needs of students).  This way every district benefits, and the students are still engaging in creative thinking.

Here is an article related to the sequestration budget cuts that have been of concern more recently.  According to this article higher education programs would be the ones most effected, meaning programs like the one we are all a part of.  These budget cuts are going to hit higher education programs drastically if the government does not decide a plan to fix our deficit problems.  I thought it was an interesting article because of its relevance to educational budgeting and because of its personal relevance to all of us.


10 facts about k-12 educational funding. (2007). Retrieved from


Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U., & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed.).      Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.


Race to the top program guidance and frequently asked questions. (2010). Retrieved from