Conference Budget Restores Less Funding to High-Poverty Schools Relative to Recent Cuts

Conference Budget Restores Less Funding to High-Poverty Schools Relative to Recent Cuts

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From the Commonwealth Institute. So much for THAT supposedly great accomplishment this past session of the Virginia General Assembly.

RICHMOND, VA – The budget recently agreed to by the Virginia House and Senate boosts support for preK-12 schools after many years of significant cuts made during the recession. Unfortunately, the investments restore proportionately less funding for school divisions in high-poverty areas compared to divisions in better off areas.

Recent per-pupil reductions in state aid were almost three times larger in school divisions with the highest percentages of students living in poverty compared to those with the fewest students in poverty.The budget restores just 26 percent of the cuts for the highest poverty school divisions after adjusting for inflation. By comparison, it restores 40 percent of the cuts for the lowest-poverty divisions. That means school divisions in the poorest areas of Virginia saw only about a quarter of their funding restored, while school divisions in wealthier parts of the state fared substantially better.

Since many of the investments in the new budget are made outside the funding formula, they are not locked in for future years and some are not distributed based on local ability to pay, which would help target higher-poverty areas.

“Lawmakers should fix the changes made to the state’s funding formula during the recession to help ensure that school divisions benefit more proportionately to the cuts they received,” says Chris Duncombe, a policy analyst with the Institute and author of the study. “That way, the state would put money back into the school divisions in the same way that they took it out and put Virginia on track for more appropriate long-term funding.”

The full report, Missing the Mark in School Support, is available online at www.thecommonwealthinstitute.org.

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About The Commonwealth Institute
The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis provides credible, independent and accessible information and analyses of fiscal and economic issues with particular attention to the impacts on low- and moderate-income persons. Our products inform fiscal and budget policy debates and contribute to sound decisions that improve the well-being of individuals, communities and Virginia as a whole. Visitwww.thecommonwealthinstitute.org for more information.