Hawaii Costing-Out 2005


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State Funding Context

From NCES (most current available statistics):

Pre-K to 12 Students, 2005-2006: 182,818
Annual Per-Pupil Expenditures, 2004-2005: $8,976
% Eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch, 2005-2006: 40.5%
% in limited-English-proficiency programs, 2005-2006: 9.9%
Note: The entire state comprises one school district

Study Title: “Adequacy Funding Study”
Date Completed: March 2005
Definition of Adequacy: This study does not provide an explicit definition for adequacy. “Adequate education” is not laid out as adequate inputs or outcomes, but instead highlights the importance of goals such as equipping students to function effectively in today’s pluralistic society, ensuring student safety and well being within environments that have adequate facilities, and promoting continuous improvements in student learning through research-based practices, site-based decision-making, and public accountability. Recommendations are derived from the 14 policy statements characterized as “adequacy goals” for the state of Hawaii.


Calculated Additional Costs:  To achieve adequacy, the state’s annual funding to the schools needs to increase by 17.7%, which adds up to $278 million ($25 million of which should pertain to combined and charter schools). Average cost per student would increase from $8,598 to $10,117.

Baseline funding levels: $1.571 billion
 Adequate funding levels: $1.849 billion
 Budget Difference: 278 million

Major Recommendations:  The study recommends phased implementation of increased funding and various intervention programs over five years. One of the most unusual and interesting aspects of this study is its detailed list of intervention programs and their estimated costs by school levels and implementation year, called Adequacy Interventions.


Special Features of the Study:  The study takes into account increased costs for special education students and English language learners.

 The study considers effective facilities and school size, but not capital funding for facilities.

 The study considers combined schools, with unique compositions and significant variability in student populations.

This study does not include the cost of preschool.

This study did not consider capital funding, or funding for transportation, food service, adult education, or community service costs, which are ordinarily excluded from adequacy studies.

Implementation: The authors have developed a communication plan to share study findings with various stakeholders. The study has shaped discussions in the Hawaii Legislature on school funding for the state, according to the CEPR February 6, 2006 Press Release.


Methodology:  The study first developed Baseline School models for elementary, middle and high schools to adequately reflect current educational practices and expenditures. Once it identified Adequacy Factors, and determined Adequacy Interventions needed to achieve Department of Education (DOE) goals, the study developed Adequate School models. These models are identical to the Baseline School models, except that they have “interventions” designed to improve their effectiveness in educating students and meeting previously stated goals. Lastly, the study estimated the funding necessary to achieve state education goals by comparing the costs of Baseline Schools to Adequacy Schools.

 Adequacy Interventions focus more intensively on elementary school than on middle or high school because according to the study, research shows the importance of quality elementary educational experience for all students.

 In developing the study the authors relied on reports by ECONorthwest, the Center for Educational Policy Research, and Educational Test Services.

Next Steps: The study recommends the creation a non-partisan commission that will be responsible for updating the adequacy models regularly. Additional data must be gathered to define how efficiently the schools are functioning currently.
Public Input: None.
Prepared for: Superintendent, Department of Education, State of Hawaii
Prepared by: Grant Thornton LLP, US member accounting and consulting firm of Grant Thornton International

Fact Sheet prepared September, 2007