ERIC Number: ED425505
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Finance Reform in Vermont: The Legislature Responds to the Brigham Supreme Court Decision.
Mathis, William J.
In Brigham et al. v. State of Vermont (1997), the Vermont Supreme Court struck down the previous state-funding system and directed the legislature to come up with a new system that would eliminate the inequities among the local school districts. An analysis of this decision and its consequences is offered here. The paper recaps the funding system prior to 1997 and describes how the previous finance system relied too heavily on local property taxes. As state aid dropped, per pupil expenditures varied widely, ranging from $2,961 to $7,726. This inequity prompted the Brigham case and led to a massive restructuring of educational finance in the form of the Equal Education Opportunities Act. The state drew on a statewide property tax, block grants, an income-sensitive property tax, new taxes, and other programs to fund these financial changes. With the funding in place, the legislature stipulated that local control was the best way to allocate the resources. This emphasis on local control was leavened by a state-curriculum framework, new assessment standards, standardized achievement tests, local goal-setting and action plans, and state standards and yearly progress reports. In the first year of the program, poor towns moderately increased their spending and richer towns cut their budgets, indicators of increasing financial equity. (Contains 15 references.) (RJM)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Vermont
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A