Re: Preliminary School-Financing Plan (or “The Coming Train Wreck”)
I don’t see how the education funding report that Marc just noted fits with all that’s come before into a sustainable plan for the future.
We know that officials from both urban and suburban communities seem to have convinced themselves that the purpose of new state education “funding formula” is to provide a bigger share of aid to their communities. They can’t all be right.
We also know that the state is in a $450 million dollar budget hole for next year. As a result, the legislature is apparently seriously considering flat-funding education aid. The deficit is structural, meaning it’s going to be there next year and the year after, unless there is a either a fundamental restructuring of programs to reduce costs, or a tax increase that will push Rhode Island towards becoming the most highly taxed state in the nation.
Lately, the legislature has been averse to tax-increases.
But according to Jennifer Jordan‘s Projo article, even though it can’t afford a simple 3% increase in education aid this year, the legislature is moving forward with a proposal that would increase the state’s share of spending on education and maybe increase education spending overall.
It adds up to three obvious possibilities for the near future of Rhode Island…
- The legislature is now being pulled in so many contradictory directions, it’s going to get paralyzed and change nothing.
- There’s a honking-big tax increase being planned.
- One set of communities is going to grab a whole bunch of state aid away from another set of communities and hide it under layer upon layer of formulas and bureaucracy and tax-shifts, in the hope that the communities losing funding won’t notice until it is too late.