According to a draft report to the Vermont Legislature provided on January 4, Vermont’s education finance reform Acts 60 and 68 have done what they intended to do by equalizing spending from town to town by factoring out property wealth. The report indicates that some towns that have seen a marked increase in spending have also seen an increase in student performance.
Hearings on the report were held January 9 and the final submission will be presented January 18. The report (AN EVALUATION OF VERMONT’S EDUCATION FINANCE SYSTEM) given to the Vermont Joint Fiscal Office by Lawrence O Picus And Associates LLC of California states the following in its executive summary:
‘The intent of this document is to provide you with our findings and to give Vermont’s education stakeholders the opportunity to review and comment on those findings.
Our overall finding from this study is that the Vermont school funding system is working well and meeting the goals established in Acts 60 and 68. Using a series of objective measures, we find:
â ¢ Vermont’s schools benefit from among the highest levels of per pupil spending in the United States
â ¢ The state has designed an equitable system. We found virtually no relationship between wealth (measured by both district property wealth and personal income) and spending levels
â ¢ Disparities in per pupil spending across districts meet or nearly meet well established benchmark standards for school finance equity
â ¢ The ‘tax price’ or cost per additional dollar of education spending drives a relatively small amount of the differences in per pupil spending suggesting that the income adjustments to homestead property taxes have not led to large resource disparities
â ¢ Spending levels continue to be determined annually by each town’s voters
â ¢ Vermont’s student performance ranks among the highest in the country, although compared to other New England states, student performance is about average
â ¢ An in depth study of five schools that have shown substantial improvements in student performance over the last five years shows that Vermont schools, even those with high proportions of low income children, can produce large gains in student learning. The case studies also identified a number of promising practices for improving student performance."
January 9th Education Finance Hearing DetailsJanuary 2012
Picus Education Finance Draft Report with Case Studies January 2012, PDF: 299 pages, 1.94 MB
Picus Education Finance Draft Report without Case Studies January 2012, PDF: 148 pages, 1.67 MB
Picus Education Finance Executive SummaryJanuary 2012