Report: Results-Based School Funding Not Going Where It's Needed Most

Published: Friday, September 22, 2017 - 2:45pm
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Earlier this year, state lawmakers and Gov. Ducey implemented a new idea for rewarding high-achieving schools. They allocated more than $37.5 million for what’s called “results-based funding.”

Under the plan, qualifying schools with more than 60 percent of their students on free or reduced lunch get $400 per student, while schools with fewer than that amount of students on free or reduced lunch get $225 per student.

This year, the money was doled out based on AZMerit scores, the state’s standardized test. But research shows most of the money did not go to those lower-income schools this year.

Dr. Anabel Aportela is the director of Research for the Arizona School Boards Association and the Arizona Association of School Business Officials.

Daniel Scarpinato, a spokesman for Ducey, has concerns with the data. He said the results are misleading, mainly because not all schools with fewer than 60 percent of their students on free or reduced lunch are affluent.

Scarpinato says the goal of results-based funding was to help schools that were having success to expand their programs and allow more students in.

He thinks next year, when the money is doled out based on a school’s letter grade, that may become more obvious.

Scarpinato says that’s because any school can be an A-rated school. The state Board of Education is scheduled to issue the new A-F letter grades to schools next week. They’ll be released to the public next month.

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