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ERIC Number: EJ788149
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 35
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0098-9495
Doing More Harm than Good? A Commentary on the Politics of Cost Adjustments for Wage Variation in State School Finance Formulas
Baker, Bruce D.
Journal of Education Finance, v33 n4 p406-440 Spr 2008
This article addresses the design and application of cost adjustments in state school finance policies intended to compensate local public school districts for differences in the costs of recruiting and retaining teachers. Broadly speaking, the state policy objective for including cost adjustments to state aid for such things as teacher cost variation is (or should be) to promote equity, which may be viewed from either a student perspective or a teacher perspective. The article also raises the question of whether, in some cases, policymakers would be better off avoiding altogether the political minefield of adjustments for teacher wages. It shows how the political balance of power in states can easily lead to cost adjustments that financially reward those schools and districts that already hold a significant labor-market advantage, reinforcing rather than resolving significant inequities in the distribution of teaching quality. The goal of this article is to review conceptions and applications of cost-adjustment strategies for accommodating uncontrollable wage variation in state school finance policy. That is, how can states, through their aid-allocation formulas, support local public school districts in the recruitment and retention of a sufficient quantity of teachers of adequate quality? The next goal is to evaluate recent school finance reforms in three states--Missouri, Kansas, and Wyoming--evaluating in detail adopted policies to accommodate teacher wage variation. (Contains 10 figures, 6 tables and 19 footnotes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kansas; Missouri; Wyoming