No change recommended for CTE funding

The Kansas State Department of Education said Wednesday that the State Board of Education and local school leaders recommend keeping the current 0.5 weighting for Career and Technical Education courses, rather than differential funding based on program costs. 

Deputy Commissioner of Education Dale Dennis reported to the Senate Education Committee on a study of CTE funding mandated by last year’s school finance bill, SB 19. The bill directed KSDE to report findings and recommendations on using a tiered technical education model or other funding model. 

Currently, school districts offering approved CTE programs receive a weighting of 0.5 of the foundation state aid per pupil, which is multiplied by the full time equivalent enrollment of students in those programs. In other words, a student attending half of the school day in an approved program would count as 0.5 FTE students, which would be multiplied by the 0.5 weighting to produce a 0.25 weighted enrollment, multiplied by $3,852. 

The district would receive $963 for that student for CTE funding. Total CTE weighting provided statewide is $39.3 million this year. 

This fall, KSDE surveyed districts on the enrollment and additional costs of CTE programs in 16 different program pathways. The results suggest weighting based on actual program costs would vary from 0 (no additional costs) to 1.3 (130% more than base aid per pupil). 

According to the report, if the proposed weightings were applied statewide, there would be almost no change in overall state funding (a reduction of $291,981, or less than one percent). However, there would be substantial changes among districts, with many larger districts losing CTE funding. 

The increases spread of among many smaller districts would often fairly small. According to Mr. Dennis, discussions with school leaders indicated it would take additional accounting to track expenses for individual programs, and the consensus was not to simply shift funding amount districts. 

As a result, the State Board recommends the Legislature maintain the current 0.5 weighting for all programs, rather than tiered system. 

The Legislature will have to take action to either keep the current system or adopt a new system because SB 19 also “sunsets” the current weighting on July 1, 2019. The House Education Committee is also directed to review the report. 

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