Taxpayer Warning on the Education Funding Formula Working Group


To little fanfare, the state’s Funding Formula Working Group released its report making “Recommendations for Improvement of Rhode Island’s Permanent Foundation Education Aid Formula.”  The tone of the coverage, such as it was, seemed generally to be that the working group acknowledged some challenges that the formula might be modified to addressed but was under such constraints in what it could recommend that it didn’t suggest anything particularly newsworthy.  Given all of the work that the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity has done reviewing education data while research the plausibility of school choice in the state — particularly in developing the RI-DIMES model to predict the effects of school choice policies — the report contains a few points that might be worth raising in the future.

For the moment, though, taxpayers should take special note of this line, which deserves more attention than it received (if it received any):

The funding formula maintenance-of-effort language for cities and towns should be strengthened to account for reasonable factors such as inflation and enrollment increases.

Under Rhode Island law, local taxpayers must give their school districts at least the same amount of money as in the previous year, and they can calculate that amount per pupil, to reduce funding if enrollment drops.  A change that imposed an inflation ratchet or that made bigger budgets for increased enrollment automatic while leaving smaller budgets for decreased enrollment to be fought in the political arena would be a significant step against local taxpayers, imposed at the state level.

  • Mike678

    Meanwhile, local papers capture the North Kingstown School Superintendent’s lament that taxes are capped at 4%. Fewer students, more administrators, stagnant educational outcomes and the consistent cry is for more, more, more. If we just paid more….

    Meanwhile, unfunded pension liability for the town stands at ~$ 90 million.

    • Loud Mouthed Clown

      NK has one of the best school districts in the state. It’s a shame you never know what you are talking about.

      • Mike678

        Hi troll. Never said NK wasn’t a good school district, but then again, lies, trolling, and fallacious logic are your specialty. You may want to seek professional help. One good sign– you may be becoming more self aware. After all, you did get your screen name right this time.