Funding a Better Education

Posted by on May 07, 2012

To each according to his need (in a decentralized way)

A new report from Achieve Hartford, funded by Public Impact, looks at the Hartford Public Schools’ model that allocates funding according to student enrollment and need. The student-based budgeting (SBB) model holds that the amount of funding a school receives for each student should reflect the student’s educational need, and that funding should follow students to the schools they attend. In Hartford, schools may receive additional funding based on a student’s grade level, academic achievement, special education status, or whether the student is an English language learner. SBB also gives principals greater autonomy over budgets. The report finds that SBB has changed the amount of funding each Hartford school receives, making distribution of funding more equitable, providing schools with the same amount of funding for students with the same characteristics, and allocating more funding for students with greater need. It has also increased principal accountability at the school level, and brought greater transparency to the district’s funding process. According to the report, Hartford can do more to minimize complications from enrollment uncertainties, which prevent accurate funding levels for schools. In addition, Hartford can increase transparency by publicly reconciling actual spending on teachers and all major line items within a school’s budget, making it is possible to see exactly how much it costs to run each school.

See the report:

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