Arkansas Costing-Out 2003
State Funding Context
Total Number of Students, 2001-2002: 449,805
Total Public School Expenditures, 2000-2001: $2,505,279,000
Average Per-Pupil Expenditures, 2000-2001: $5,568
% Eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch: 47.2%
% in limited-English-proficiency programs, 2001-2002: 2.9%
|Study Title:||“An Evidence-Based Approach to School Finance Adequacy in Arkansas”|
|Date Completed:||September 2003|
|Calculated Base Costs:||The study created an evidence-based matrix describing the resources each school needs to provide students with an adequate education. The matrix includes adjustments for students living in poverty and for English language learners. The authors also recommend a substantial increase in teachers’ salaries. The cost of implementing the matrix and salary increases varies by district, with a mean of $6,230 per pupil in 2003 dollars.|
Increase school funding by $848.3 million, an increase of about 34%, including:
Reform the teacher pay schedule by:
|Special Features of the Study:||
The study’s recommended resource matrices are based on “effective school” models that are focused on improving instruction through professional development and a performance pay structure. The authors recommend significantly restructuring schools and reallocating resources to implement the models on which the figures are based.
The study emphasizes the importance of preschool, recommending an expanded pre-kindergarten program for low-income families, full-day kindergarten, and class sizes of 15 in grades K-3.
In determining appropriate levels of teacher pay, the researchers considered the geographic cost-of-education index, as well as salary benchmarks in competing states and industries.
The authors based the resource matrices on a school size of 500 students, for elementary, middle, and secondary schools, despite the fact that most Arkansas schools are smaller than this.
|Implementation:||After the state missed the January 2004 deadline for compliance with the Lakeview School District v. Huckabee decision, the court appointed special masters to evaluate the state’s progress. The legislature, then in special session, acted quickly to pass education legislation addressing some of the costing-out report’s recommendations. Measures passed include:
In their report, the special masters applauded the state’s progress, but also noted that it didn’t fully follow the costing-out report’s recommendations. The legislature failed to implement:
|The Arkansas Joint Legislative Committee on Educational Adequacy, formed in response to the state Supreme Court’s decision in Lakeview v. State, contracted for research and consulting services with school finance experts to recommend a set of prototypical school models. The Joint Committee defined an “adequate education” as one meeting the state’s current curriculum frameworks and testing system.
|Additional Factors:||The study does not take into account facilities, food service, or transportation. The study does take into account extensive professional development and increased planning and preparation time for teachers.|
|Prepared for:||Arkansas Joint Committee on Educational Adequacy|
|Prepared by:||Lawrence O. Picus and Associates|