Funding Impacts on Student Achievement
STUDY OF THE FINANCING OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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01:02 PM -- Funding Impacts on Student Achievement
Justin Silverstein, representing Augenblick, Paliach and Associates (APA), discussed the funding impacts of student achievement, including at-risk student funding and shared a handout with committee members (Attachment I). Mr. Silverstein discussed the three key factors to consider for a school finance system: at-risk students, special education students, and English language learners.
Mr. Silverstein responded to questions from the committee regarding factors. He continued his presentation noting that APA has examined the relationship between performance and spending by state. He noted the challenges with using NAEP. Senator King asked how need was determined in the graph, whether he used free and reduced lunch and/or special education. Mr. Silverstein continued his presentation on identifying at-risk students, specifically discussing that proxies are generally used by states. He cautioned that proxies are not necessarily designed to identify specific students who need services but to estimate the total number of students who need services.
Mr. Silverstein responded to questions from the committee. He reviewed the proxies that different states use, including free lunch, free and reduced lunch, the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, families below poverty level, assessment scores, and census factors such as parent education level. He then discussed how weights are arrived at. He also explained how Colorado arrives at its at-risk weight, noting that the funds go to the district and charters receive funding a district average. He noted the range of weights across states. Committee discussion ensued about the Maryland at-risk weight and formula.
Mr. Silverstein discussed the various ways that states spend at-risk funding, explaining that some states require it be spent on specific program, but many do not restrict the expenditures at all. He stated that the committee should consider should the dollars be tracked to students or programs, and that currently Colorado looks for 75% of at-risk funding to go to programming. He further noted that states generally do not collect expenditure data for at-risk because the programs that serve at-risk may also serve a larger pool of students, which makes it difficult to parse out what is specifically spend on at-risk. He discussed the different at-risk programs, including: reduced class size, alternative schools, tutoring, and before/after school programs..
Mr. Silverstein responded to comments and questions from the committee.