Mayor McKee on an Educational Funding Policy

In this week’s Valley Breeze, Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee lays the groundwork for an educational “funding formula” proposal that looks to be substantially different from the other proposals that have been recently considered for Rhode Island. The key passage in the op-ed is this one…

Three attributes mark good governmental funding policy at any level: 1) the funding is equitable; 2) it’s transparent; and 3) it rewards the right kinds of behavior. Our current state funding policies bear none of these hallmarks.
Neither of the options currently before the state legislature, the so-called Ajello or Gallo bills, contain anything like this third provision; they are simple redistributive plans based on tax rates, property values and theoretical estimates of per-pupil costs that give no consideration to factors like spending efficiency or educational outcomes.
With regards to the first point, alas, the fact that the term “equitable” has lost all meaning in the context of the RI “funding formula” debate — officials from communities already receiving big amounts of state aid use “equitable” to mean they should receive even more, while officials from communities receiving lesser amounts use it to mean that per-pupil funding should be more, well, equitable — makes it difficult to determine exactly what is meant there. Mayor McKee does discuss the concept of funding students instead of school-systems, but at least in this op-ed, stops well short of endorsing a true money-follows-the-student funding program.
Stay tuned. As anyone who has followed the development of Mayoral Academies in Rhode Island knows, Mayor McKee has shown a preeminent ability for getting changes that he’s set his sights on implemented at the State House…

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14 years ago

You can watch Mayor McKee address the Mayoral academy in more detail on the Anthony Walsh Show (Thursday at 9:00PM on Channel 18 public access channel- don’t know what Channel Fios uses). As one of the guest panelists on the show, I was impressed by his knowledge and desire to change the disastrous course of public education in RI. The guy knows his stuff.

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