$38 million program Gov. Doug Ducey is pitching as a way to boost high-performing schools, particularly in low-income areas, would most benefit the state’s richest district and charter schools, according to an analysis by The Arizona Republic.
The “results-based funding” program proposes to give $400 per student to the state’s poorest high-performing schools and $250 per student to high-performing schools in higher-income areas.
Overall, it would give $13.5 million to the state’s low-income area district and charter schools and $25 million to middle- and higher-income schools, with $15 million of that going to the state’s richest schools.
Also, a disproportionate amount of money would go to charter schools, which can more easily weed out lower-performing students. Like district schools, charters are required to take any student who wants to enroll, but charters can turn students away when a program, class or grade is full.
“Look at the districts and charters that have zero to 10 percent of their students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch, that’s where most of the bucks are going,” said Chuck Essigs, director of governmental relations for the Arizona Association of School Business Officials.
“This is a good example of when people propose changes in the school-funding formula, it’s very important to simulate what impact that change is going to have.”
Ducey gave the plan cursory mention in his State of the State address, listing it as numbers 14 and 15 in his litany of school-funding proposals. But he gave it top billing in his budget.