State school funding no longer provides equal opportunity, study finds

Stop inequalities

A new study commissioned by the Association for Equity in Funding (AEF) provides strong evidence that the current school finance system is no longer fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide Wisconsin students an equal educational opportunity as defined in the State Supreme CourtVincent v. Voight decision in 2000. Further, the study, Segregation of Opportunity: A Longitudinal Study of Wisconsin Education Funding found the state’s school funding mechanism is contributing to greater education opportunity gaps based on where a student lives, contrary to the core purpose of the school funding system.

The study used 8 years of school finance and tax data to examine the statewide impact of the current funding formula on Wisconsin community schools.

“This study clearly demonstrates a systemic failure to ensure that the moral purpose of public education, as defined by the Court in Vincent v. Voight is being fulfilled,” said study lead author Scott Wittkopf.

The Association for Equity in Funding (AEF) is a group of Wisconsin school districts that seeks financial equity in the state system of school financing. The members include larger and urban-type districts such as Green Bay, Chippewa Falls, Appleton, Sheboygan, and Beloit, as well as smaller, more rural districts like Algoma, Cornell, Spring Valley, Kickapoo, Antigo, and Whitewater.

Wittkopf said not only is the state’s school funding system failing to provide equal opportunity, “it is contributing to a new type of segregation – that of income inequality. As inequitable funding remains a moral issue in Wisconsin, segregation will exacerbate due to systemic funding inequity. We call on a bipartisan effort to fix this broken system, and restore the moral promise to all of our children – the promise of educational opportunity for every child.”

The full study in pdf format can be downloaded here: Segregation of Opportunity: A Longitudinal Study of Wisconsin Education Funding

A pdf of this statement can be downloaded here: 2014 Education Funding Study Press Release

A pdf of the AEF press statement can be downloaded here: AEF Press Release

Macro workbooks for Spending/Funding Disparity Indices here: Spending Disparity Index Macro BookFunding Disparity

Macro workbook for FRL (Student Poverty) Funding here: Funding Disparity based on FRL Rate

Macro workbook for SpN (Special needs) Funding here: Funding Disparity based on Special Needs Enrollment

Macro workbook for ELL (English Language Learners) here: Funding Disparity based on ELL

Raw Data workbook can be downloaded here: Raw Data Worksheet

Categorical Aids Data Workbook here: State Cat Aids 2004 – 2011

Longitudinal Analysis Data Output: Longitudinal Growth Model