A broad, bipartisan coalition now urges a new method of funding our public schools–one that finally ensures the students who need the most receive it, that empowers school leaders to make key decisions, and that opens the door to public school choice. It’s a 100 percent solution to the most pressing problems in public school funding–and it’s called Weighted Student Funding. Under WSF, money would follow children to the schools they attend, with more disadvantaged children generating more funding. Schools would then have increased discretion to spend funds in ways that maximize student learning. Public Impact led the research and writing behind this manifesto, released in June 2006 with dozens of signatories from across the political spectrum.
While Ohio’s policymakers have made great strides in reducing funding inequities between school districts, substantial inequities remain between schools, with schools serving more disadvantaged populations often receiving less. In addition, the state’s finance system has not kept pace with the expanding choices available to families: while kids can take advantage of more and more choice options, money does not follow them fully as they choose. This Thomas B. Fordham Institute report, by Public Impact and University of Dayton’s School of Education and Allied Professions, documents those issues and proposes a new approach.