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Method of allocating state funds to school districts could change

Legislators met yesterday to discuss problems with the way in which the state distributes K-12 funding to North Carolina schools.

During a lengthy presentation to the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee, lawmakers heard details of a report that suggests either extensive reforms to the current system or a complete overhaul that would change the system to one that uses a “weighted student formula.” Basically, under that model, a base amount of money is allocated for each student in the state, with additional funds added to that amount for students with extra needs. School districts would get their funding in this manner, rather than being provided money for specific categories such as teachers, textbooks, etc.

Of the problems found with the current model of K-12 funding distribution, a summary of the report states:

“The Program Evaluation Division found issues with individual allotments or issues that span numerous allotments, ranging from unintended consequences of particular methods and formulaic policies and procedures to a lack of rationale for the factors used to determine how resources are distributed. The Division also identified deficiencies with the allotment system as a whole resulting from overall system complexity and lapses in the control environment.”

The Committee voted to “endorse” the report, created by the Program Evaluation Division of the General Assembly, and directed the staff to prepare draft legislation to create a task force of legislators to study overhauling the allotment system into one that uses a “weighted student formula.”

That draft will come back before the Committee in December for further discussion and perhaps a vote.

We will have a more comprehensive look at the Committee presentation and allotment report next week, as well as video from the meeting.

For a summary of the report, as well as the final report and other documents related to the meeting, go here.

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Alex Granados

Alex Granados is senior reporter for EducationNC.