ERIC Number: ED478057
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Reference Count: N/A
Equity and Adequacy Challenges in Rural Schools and Communities.
Mathis, William J.
A meeting of education finance scholars discussed finance issues relevant to rural schools and communities. This paper summarizes major themes that emerged during the meeting. Notions of efficiency and economies of scale have contributed to widespread consolidation of rural schools and school districts. The value of community is not easily measured and has often been excluded from consolidation decisions. In addition, actual savings from consolidation are often smaller than predicted. Other themes included teacher salaries and other difficulties in recruiting rural teachers; negative impacts of No Child Left Behind, vouchers, and charter schools on rural school finance; impacts of poverty and lack of services in isolated areas; inability of rural districts to absorb special education costs; handling of sparsity factors, transportation costs, and declining enrollments in state aid formulas; cost of living adjustments; obsolete and dilapidated rural facilities; expansion of technology use in rural schools; and the continuing brain drain from rural areas. No Child Left Behind insists that all children learn to the same level without addressing rural inequalities in out-of-school conditions that affect opportunity to learn. Such inequalities could become categorical weights in state funding formulas, but such formulas generally are politically driven and inadequate to rural needs. Equity is inseparable from adequacy. Professional judgement approaches that separate remote and rural districts into their own unique "market basket" hold the best promise for determining adequacy. (SV)
Descriptors: Categorical Aid, Educational Equity (Finance), Educational Finance, Educational Needs, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Financial Problems, Funding Formulas, Poverty, Rural Schools, School Community Relationship, School District Size, School District Wealth, School Size, Small Schools
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A