Structure of the School Finance Systems

In an attempt to develop funding formulas, such as the Composite Index and the Linear Estimator, the state has gone to great lengths to have a fair and equitable means of financially supporting public schools. However, if schools are still failing their students???, and richer school districts have more services and resources when does the state decide that the current funding process is ineffective?  What prohibits the state from moving to a Full State Funding process? If we believe math is math, English is English, technology needs are the same for the student in Loudoun as they are in Greensville, and a teacher is a teacher regardless of where they teach,  what is preventing the state from changing a funding direction to assure all subject areas are taught and all teachers receive the same pay.

Prompt 1

Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the current funding structure used in Virginia


  • Whoever funds schools controls its direction and practices.
  • If everyone got the same amount of funding, it wouldn’t be all that they needed so the poorer countys would still be at a disadvantage – they wouldn’t have the means to make up the difference.
  • Equal doesn’t mean fair and equality doesn’t mean equity.  Virginia’s model does it’s best to be equitable.  If a county can not pay, the state pays extra to try and help make up the difference.
  • Localities having more fiscal control means that they are able to better reflect their schools’ diverse needs.




  • The model the state uses underestimates average salaries and therefore lowers the amount of money given to localities.
  • The locality has to make up for the difference in funds.  Costs are not spread out across the whole state, they are spread out across the locality – this means there is a higher burden put on the localities.
  • Just because the data says that a county has the means to make up the difference doesn’t mean it is going to.  There has to be a good relationship between school districts and county supervisors to ensure that they will help make up the shortage in funding.
Jul 2017

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