Inequity Guarantee? Dividing up the School Funding Pie

pieHow do you take $2.4 billion dollars and divide it up “equally” among all of New Mexico’s school children?  That’s what the State Equalization Guarantee formula is supposed to do.  But Santa Fe kids get only $6,400 per student while Wagon Mound, New Mexico kids get $12,926 per child.  How is this possible? Superintendent Joel Boyd calls the stunningly complex mathematical formula an “inequity guarantee” rather than an equalization  guarantee, and is considering a lawsuit.  The formula has been amended over 80 times by the legislature since its inception in 1972, and every group that has studied the formula thinks it’s broken.  In today’s show, with the help of Charles Sallee, Deputy Director of the Legislative Finance Committee, I explain the top five problems with the formula.  Part two of this story will discuss the planned lawsuit in more detail.

Listen to the show (Ep. #41):

If you have trouble with the media player above, click here to play the show, or get it in the iTunes music store.

Further reading:

the mind-bogglingly complex formula spreadsheet (just keep scrolling down!)

A list of the dollars per student spit out by the spreadsheet for each district and charter school in New Mexico. (Charters are treated as teeny tiny districts under the formula.)

The Legislative Finance Committee study on the funding formula.

The Legislative Finance Committee power point explaining the problems with the formula.

The Maddox Foundation study on the formula

Colorado’s new new funding formula bill overhaul signed into law

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