No Fair, No Fair!

No Fair, No Fair!

We’ve been talking a lot about what states we should be comparing Kansas to, and have come up with several methods.  We’ve also talked about what each state’s funding formula looks like.  In this blog post, we will look at the fairness of funding in Kansas.  

Bruce Baker at Rutgers University and his colleagues at the Education Law Center recently released the fourth edition of their report entitled “Is School Funding Fair:  A National Report Card.”  You can view the full report here:

The report includes six rankings of funding fairness and three resource allocation indicator ranks.  The following is a description of each measure and an indication of where Kansas falls compared to other states.

Funding Fairness

Per Pupil Funding Level:   Overall level of state and local revenue provided to school districts, comparing each state’s average per-pupil revenue with that of other states.  Each state’s revenue level is adjusted to reflect differences in regional wages, poverty, economies of scale, and population density.

KS Value KS Rank
$10,561 23
Funding Distribution:  Distribution of funding across local districts within a state, relative to student poverty. Indicates whether a state provides more or less funding to schools based on their poverty concentration, using simulations ranging from 0% to 30% child poverty.   Indicates the percent of the lower poverty district funding received by higher poverty districts.

KS Value KS Rank
96% 28

Effort:  Differences in state spending for education relative to state fiscal capacity. “Effort” is defined as the ratio of state spending to state gross domestic product (GDP).

KS Value KS Rank
Overall – Per Capita GDP $44,952
Overall – Effort Index 0.037
Change 08-12 -7.60% 25
Change 11-12 2.90% 7

Coverage:  Proportion of school-age children attending the state’s public schools combined with the ratio of median household incomes between private and public school students.

KS Value KS Rank
Coverage 88%
Private/Public Household Income Ratio 146%

Based on this data, it would seem that Kansas is doing relatively well in the areas of effort and coverage, but has more room for improvement in terms of per pupil funding amounts and funding distribution based on poverty levels.

Resource Allocation Indicators

Early Childhood Education:  Enrollment rates in early childhood education programs by income level. Access to early learning opportunities, especially for low-income students, is a key indicator of a state’s commitment to provide equal educational opportunities and reduce achievement gaps.
KS Value KS Rank
% Low Income Enrolled 40%
% Non-Low Income Enrolled 50%
Enrollment Ratio by Income 80%
Wage Competitiveness:  Uses wage data to compare compensation between teachers and non-teachers who have similar education levels, experience, and hours worked. The index is expressed as the ratio between teacher wages and non-teacher wages, and is presented at early career (age 25) and mid-career (age 45) to evaluate whether the teaching profession is economically competitive in each state.

KS Value KS Rank
Wage Ratio at 25 80%
Wage Ratio at 45 68%

Pupil-to-Teacher Ratios:  This measures district staffing patterns, comparing pupil-to teacher ratios in high-poverty and low-poverty districts.  PTR fairness % indicates percent of teachers per pupil in high poverty districts compared to low poverty districts.

KS Value KS Rank
Pupil Teacher Ratio at 10% Poverty 14.00
PTR Fairness 100%

Based on this data, Kansas does fairly well in terms of early childhood enrollment, but has room for improvement in terms of teacher wage competitiveness and the distribution of teachers based on poverty levels.

The state comparisons we do will include comparisons on these values and ranks.

To examine the data more closely, use the following links: