Florida is one of three states scoring below average on four measures of school funding fairness, according to a national report card.
The report was produced by the New Jersey-based Education Law Center and Rutgers University researchers. The authors argue state funding formulas should send more money to districts with higher poverty rates.
The study looked at school funding in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The researchers argue a good state education funding scheme does two things: Spends more money on education relative to the state’s wealth, and is “progressive,” allocating more money to school districts with higher poverty rates.
Florida earned poor grades for both counts.
Florida school districts with a higher percentage of students qualifying for federal free or reduced price lunches — an oft-used proxy for poverty — received a lower share of state and local education money than districts with a lower percentage of students who qualified for free or reduced lunch.
For every dollar spent in a low-poverty school district, a higher-poverty school district received just 91 cents — a ‘D’ grade, according to the study.
Florida also earned an ‘F’ in 2009 for total spending on education as a portion of state gross domestic product, or the overall size of the state economy. The state earned ‘C’ grades for 2007 and 2008.
The state’s overall funding rank declined to 40th in the nation from 22nd, spending $8,975 in state and local money per student.
A handful of advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit challenging state school funding. The group’s argue Florida is not meeting state constitutional requirements of a “high quality” education.
Read the full report below: