ERIC Number: ED310894
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Rural School Finance: A Critical Analysis of Current Practice in Illinois.
Lows, Raymond L.
School finance is basic to understanding and improving the condition of rural education. Information necessary for financial planning and policy development at the state and local levels is stored in large computer readable data bases and needs to be accessed. Pertinent data elements need to be extracted from the data base and relationships among the data need to be identified. A study conducted in Illinois in 1987-88 established a multidimensional definition of rural education for use with large computer readable data bases. A unit school district operating grades K-12 was classified as rural if it met at least four of the following five criteria: (1) enrollment of less than 1,350; (2) pupil sparsity of less than 15 pupils per square mile; (3) assessed valuation of at least 25% from farmland or mineral properties; (4) assessed valuation of at least 25% from farmland; and (5) location outside a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area. Although rural and small nonrural schools may be similar in many ways, they are dissimilar in ability to access revenues for education and in their efforts to support educational programs. When effort to provide educational programs was measured not by property tax rates but by ratio of operating expenditures per pupil to median family income, rural school districts made a proportionately greater effort. School aid formulas which include income in the wealth measure would provide increased benefits to rural school districts with lower median family incomes. Proposed two-stage state-local finance systems would provide equalization of resources across all school districts. Use of the definition of a rural school district as established in this study to access computer-readable information would facilitate further efforts to describe and improve the condition of rural education. Statistical information is presented in 12 tables. (ALL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois