Friday, April 9, 2010

Seeing that SEEK decline (and the shifting state and local shares)

The Council for Better Education has just released new reports showing SEEK trends over the last five years.  Reports for the state and each district are available here, and the press release is here

Statewide, total SEEK funding per pupil showed small growth each year until this one.  Remember that in 2008, districts were also required to add two instructional days, explaining the largest of the earlier increases.  For 2010, the total moved downward:

The drop was created by shrinking state contributions.  The state's share of the SEEK base guarantee went down in 2009 and down again in 2010.  The state contribution to Tier I equalization went down in 2010, and the add-on funding for students with special needs also dipped this year.

Meanwhile, local funding has grown.  Until 2010, the local growth was enough to offset the state shifts.  In 2010, local growth slowed down substantially, adding only $27 per pupil to the required SEEK base, $2 to optional Tier I funding that receives state equalization, and $2 to unequalized Tier II funding.
Do notice that the largest growth has been in the unequalized Tier II portion.  "Unequalized" means that two districts can set identical tax rates, but because they have different levels of taxable property, one will receive far more revenue than the other from that taxation.  Between districts, funding from Tier II is guaranteed to be unequal, reflecting geography and wealth rather than student needs.

Repeating the earlier disclosure, I consult for the Council and contributed to the development of these reports.

1 comment:

  1. Nice article.

    Continued decline of state funding and increased reliance on local (and unequalized) Tier II funding could erode our state's hard-won commitment to equitable funding.

    Let's hope that this is a short-term oversight.

    Scott Diamond

    Scott E Diamond, MA Ed, PhD

    Science Teacher
    Saint John School, Georgetown, KY

    Adjunct Assistant Professor of Physiology
    University of Kentucky College of Medicine


Updates and data on Kentucky education!