Monday, June 17, 2024
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100 Percent Of Jackson Students Qualify As Rural In New Funding Formula

Jackson County Director of Schools Kristy Brown saw one of her biggest wants addressed in the new proposed school funding model.

Brown said that as a member of the rural school districts subcommittee, it was important to her to see a district’s ruralness acknowledged and factored into the budget.

“They have basically a five percent additional weight for each student that lives in ‘sparsity,'” Brown said. “So less than 25 population per square mile. So all of our kids, 100 percent of our kids would qualify for an additional five percent on that.”

Brown said that while she was glad to see it included she was a little underwhelmed that the sparsity only counts as an additional five percent. She said that she feels encouraged by the significant weight for economically disadvantaged students as well as for the categories for special student needs.

However, Brown said that there is still much more she would like to know before giving a strong stance on the proposed formula.

“I’ll tell you what it’s a lot of information that we’ve been given just a tiny amount of time to digest,” Brown said. “It’s a big departure from BEP and the 45 or 46 components that make it up to saying this kid is worth this amount of money depending on what categories they fall into.”

Brown said that it’s hard to compare how this affects budgeting compared to the previous BEP model because it’s now student-based instead of resource-based. She said that the schools could get additional funding based on outcomes, such as student career readiness or mastering of literacy.

“This is a big deal,” Brown said. “They have not changed this funding model in 30 years. So I’m sure that districts like us, small, rural districts are going to have some issues once we get down into the weeds of it. And there’ll be issues that big, urban districts have too that they don’t agree with every part of it. Our hope is, is that if we move towards this, we get the best out of it for the kids in our area and for schools like us.”

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