Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kentucky takes first place on a funding issue!

Seriously, we're tops on a measure of funding equity. In a federal look at district-to-district funding differences, Kentucky had the best, most equitable ratio between districts of any state.

The study calculated each school district's total revenue per pupil and then compared the districts with 5th and 95th percentile funding (meaning, basically, the ones with almost the weakest and almost the strongest resources).

$8,417 was the per-pupil funding in Kentucky's 5th percentile school district.

$11,226 was the per-pupil funding in Kentucky's 95th percentile school district.

Our almost-best funded district thus had 33 percent more funding than our almost-worst one.

That's a real difference, and we shouldn't shrug it off. Nor should we ignore the fact that our median and 95th percentile districts are funded well below national average.

But 48 states have bigger differences, from West Virginia with a 36 percent gap to Nevada with a 370 percent gap--and Hawaii only has one district for the whole state. Kentucky's gap is the smallest in the nation.

That equity achievement is a point worth some pride!

[Source note for detail lovers: The figures come from the U.S. Education Department's report on Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2006–07 (Fiscal Year 2007) First Look available here. In Table 1, the report shows a "federal range ratio, defined as " the difference between the amount per pupil of the district at the 95th percentile of total revenues per pupil and the district at the 5th percentile divided by the amount per pupil for the district at the 5th percentile." The Kentucky ratio is shown there rounded to 0.3, but calculates out to 33 percent.]

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!