School Finance/Funding

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Report: Leveling The Playing Field For Rural Students

Leveling the Playing FieldLimited access to advanced coursework, medical care, food and employment opportunities continue to daunt students in many rural communities, according to a report released today by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and The Rural School and Community Trust.


New "Why Rural Matters" Report Now Available

Why Rural Matters 2015-16The new edition of Why Rural Matters, from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Rural School and Community Trust, provides an overall "priority" ranking of the 50 states, showing the greatest needs in rural education.


Why Rural Matters 2015-2016 Capitol Hill briefing to be held April 3, 2017

Why Rural Matters 2015-2016 is the eighth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the contexts and conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the need for policymakers to address rural education issues in their respective states.


Rural Snapshot: Dillon County, South Carolina

Dillon County, South Carolina is a poor rural community located along interstate 95, about 70 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach.  In Dillon County, roughly two-thirds of students are African-American, one-third are white and 90 percent are low-income.


U.S. Department of Education Reminds Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) Grantees of Eligibility Requirements

The purpose of the Small, Rural School Achievement grant program is to provide financial assistance to rural districts to assist them in meeting their state's definition of adequate yearly progress (AYP). Applicants do not compete but rather are entitled to funds if they meet basic eligibility requirements.


Monsanto Fund awards $25,000 to the Rural School and Community Trust in support of Why Rural Matter 2015-16 research project

The Rural School and Community Trust received a $25,000 Monsanto grant award providing support for the research and publication of Why Rural Matters 2015-16. This biennial series research report focuses on the realities of K-12 education state-by-state across rural America.  


Virginia Rural Elementary Schools Receive Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children Grants

Two rural public elementary schools in Virginia will receive grants of $50,000 each from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children, which provides educational resources to underfunded schools in rural communities.


Administration Releases Report, Opportunity for All: Fighting Rural Child Poverty

On May 20, 2015, the White House released the report, entitled, Opportunity for All: Fighting Rural Child Poverty. The report examines poverty in rural areas, compares urban and rural poverty rates, discusses how safety net programs reduce rural poverty, and highlights the Administration's efforts and proposals to reduce poverty and promote opportunity in rural communities.


April 1, 2015 is Deadline for Farmers to Nominate their Public School District to Receive Math and Science Grants

America's Farmers Grow Rural Education is back for a fourth year of partnering with farmers to nominate their local public school district to compete for a grant of $10,000 or $25,000 to enhance math and science education.


E-Rate Gets Big Funding Boost, New Rules

In December the FCC gave E-Rate — the federal program that provides funding to schools and libraries for technology and high-speed internet — a funding increase of $1.5 billion.


South Carolina, Kansas Fight School Finance Rulings

State officials in both South Carolina and Kansas are fighting court rulings to bring their finance systems up to constitutional standards.


U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights Releases Guidance to Ensure that All Students have Equal Access to Educational Resources

On October 2, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights released guidance in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter to ensure that all students have equal access to educational resources. The guidance provides detailed and concrete information to educators on the standards established by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


Secure Rural Schools Program Defunded in Federal Spending Package

The federal program that has provided billions to rural timber counties to help support schools and roads received no funding in Congress’s recent funding agreement.


Charter Schools Facing Legal Challenges

A recent court ruling in Arizona found that the state’s charter schools are not entitled to the same level of funding as regular schools, and a complaint has been filed in with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights claiming that most of Delaware’s charters are racially identifiable and that common enrollment practices violate several provisions of federal law.


School Finance Overview: Arizona and California

Attorneys for the state Legislature of Arizona are back in court seeking a stay in a Court ruling requiring increased funding for schools. In California, schools are getting more funding along with greater flexibility and a mandate to work more closely with parents and community organizations. 


Long-Running South Carolina Funding Lawsuit Decided

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled the state is failing its constitutional duty to fund “minimally adequate” schools in low-wealth rural school districts.


Rural Districts Key Plaintiffs in Recent School Finance Lawsuits

As states have failed to restore recession-era school funding cuts, citizens and school districts are seeking redress in the courts.


Charters, School Finance Ruling All Mixed Up in Washington State

The relationship between school funding for regular public schools and charters can be complicated. Lawsuits in Washington reveal some of the reasons why.


USDA's Farm to School Grant Program Enables Schools to Bring Healthy, Locally-grown Food to the School Cafeteria

Through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program, schools are able to incorporate fresh, local food into their school meals and teach students about healthy eating through hands-on experience in their own school gardens as well as nutrition education in the classroom.


Education a Key Issue in Some State Elections

Education may play a surprisingly large role in several state elections next month and somel issues are challenging partisan divisions.
Date: October 29, 2014
Related Categories: Administrator, Parent, Rural Policy Matters, Teacher
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding, Teacher Issues, testing


Register Now for December 10 NCEEP Webinar: Issues, Challenges and Successes for GEAR UP Programs in Rural Areas

Throughout the United States, GEAR UP programs in rural communities face unique challenges trying to facilitate college readiness and access for low-income, first-generation students, ranging from transportation issues, teacher quality and turnover, and inadequate K-12 resources and rigor to lack of post-secondary education and economic development opportunities.

Action on School Finance Lawsuits Heats Up

Courts in Washington and Texas have issued rulings favoring school districts, and a new school finance lawsuit is filed in Mississippi.


Why Rural Matters 2013-14 Garners National Attention at Capitol Hill Briefing

On July 9, 2014, Rural Trust staff and researchers presented the key research findings of Why Rural Matters 2013-14 at a policy briefing on Capitol Hill. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representative Glen Thompson (R-PA) sponsored this Hill event, which was attended by a diverse group of educators, policy enthusiasts and rural supporters.


Summer Crop of Finance Studies

Back to school season sees a fresh set of studies on the effects of school finance systems.


North Carolina Vouchers: Unconstitutional

The Tarheel State’s controversial voucher program is an unconstitutional use of taxpayer dollars and fails other important aspects of education law, according to an August court ruling.


NCLB Requirements Come Due

RPM Editorial: The nation’s schools are supposed to be meeting all provisions of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act at the start of this school year. But statistical impossibility, inconsistent enforcement, and state waivers leave the law’s provisions in limbo.


Washington Court and Legislature Nearing Showdown Over School Funding

Washington’s state legislature is unlikely to meet a Supreme Court deadline related to the state’s school finance lawsuit and it’s not clear what the Court will do about it.


North Carolina Teacher Policy Debates Move to Budget Process

North Carolina teachers won back some of their tenure protections, but that fight has moved to the state budget process, where several education policies are under debate.


CNCS Announces FY 2014 Funding Opportunity for Indian Tribes

With the FY 2014 AmeriCorps Indian Tribes Notice of Funding Opportunity, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) seeks to prioritize the investment of national service resources in economic opportunity, education, veterans and military families, and disaster services in Native American communities.


Discipline, Teachers, Curriculum, Preschool: Equity a Big Challenge in U.S. Schools

Comprehensive data from all U.S. public schools demonstrates that some groups of students consistently face challenges to educational opportunity in school.


School Funding Unconstitutional in Kansas

The Kansas Supreme Court has found the state is failing to meet its constitutional requirement to provide equitable funding for school districts.


Report Finds Negative Effects of Recession on School Funding

A recent report finds that education funding has declined in most states since the Great Recession—and that funding has become less fair.


USDA Announces Request for Applications for FY 2015 Farm to School Grants

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School grants help eligible schools improve the health and well-being of their students and connect schools with local farmers, ranchers and food businesses. This grant program provides new economic opportunities to food producers and bring healthy, local offerings into school cafeterias.


Resistance Mounting to North Carolina's Education "Reforms"

Resistance is growing to recent changes to education policy in North Carolina, including lawsuits against the elimination of tenure protections and state support for private school vouchers.


Office of Civil Rights Guidance for Schools

Guidance issued earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights addresses what states and districts should do to ensure equal access to educational resources and opportunities.


Going Two Ways at Once: Distance as a Defining Rural Characteristic

The RPM series “What Makes Rural Rural?" examines characteristics of rural places and implications for policymakers, philanthropists, and others interested in making the most of resources and opportunity. In this second installment we look at the effects of distance on rural residents, schools, and communities.


Urban School Closures Similar to Rural Closures

The National Opportunity to Learn Campaign addresses school closures in urban areas.


Colorado School Funding Defeat

Voters delivered a blow to education interests seeking support to address long-standing school finance issues and recent budget cuts.


New Reports Address Important Issues for Student and Community Well-Being

Recent reports highlight key issues for improving outcomes for students, especially those in economically challenged communities.


North Carolina Launches Dramatic Changes in Education

North Carolina’s legislature has instituted dramatic changes in policies affecting school funding, teachers, and privatization.


Education Spending Below Pre-Recession Levels in Most States

A report issued this month finds that most states are spending less per pupil than they did before the recession and that these cuts have negative short- and long-term economic and educational consequences.


Foundation for Rural Services Grant Proposals Due Oct. 1, 2013

The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS), in cooperation with the NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association, seeks to sustain and enhance the quality of life throughout rural America by advancing an understanding of rural telecommunications issues.


Panel Discussion on School District Consolidation Held in Washington, D.C.

On Thursday, August 8, 2013, the Center for American Progress hosted a panel of educators and experts in a debate of the pros and cons of consolidating small and rural schools districts.


U.S. Department of Education Invites Districts to Apply for $120 Million in Race to the Top

On July 30, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it had finalized the application for the 2013 Race to the Top-District competition, which will provide nearly $120 million to support bold, locally directed improvements in learning and teaching that will directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness.


The Rules We Play By, Part 4: Legal Interventions

Legal interventions, specifically lawsuits, play an important role in shaping public policy and can have a range of surprising effects among the groups who bring them.


2013 Rural Recipients of Grants from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children

Two rural elementary schools have been awarded funds from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children.


Texas Districts Prevail in Ruling; Appeal Will Follow

The school funding trial in the Lone Star State has ended, but legislative response and plans for an appeal to the state supreme court are underway.


Formula Fight in Ohio: Big Questions about New Directions

Governor John Kasich released his budget proposal earlier this year, but legislators and education stakeholders have not embraced it in the face of questions about equity, privatizing initiatives, and actual impact on schools.


Colorado School Finance Action in Court and Legislature

The Colorado Supreme Court heard oral arguments and ruled on the constitutionality of the state’s school finance system in advance of the Legislature undertaking reforms to that system.


Washington Legislature Works to Address Court Order

As this year’s session ends, lawmakers approve increases for education, but it is still unclear whether voters must approve tax hikes.


School Fees at Issue in Idaho and California

An Idaho grandfather’s efforts to stop school districts from charging student fees has met with procedural hurdles; California will clarify when fees can be charged.


Louisiana Voucher Funding Unconstitutional

The Louisiana Supreme Court says voucher law diverts money exclusively designated for public schools.


Alabama Voucher Law Passes Amid Major Controversy

Alabama’s new voucher law may still face legal hurdles, despite overcoming one lawsuit before being signed by Governor Robert Bentley.


States Continue Charter School Debates

A number of states continue to struggle with policy decisions related to charter schools, particularly virtual charters.


Local Revenue per Pupil, 2000-2009

Schools in towns and rural communities have, on average, much less local revenue per pupil than schools in cities and suburbs.


Leadership Conference Education Fund releases report, Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality: Achieving Educational Equity for Each and Every Child

Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality On April 15, 2013, the Leadership Conference Education Fund released their report, “Reversing the Rising Tide of Inequality: Achieving Educational Equity for Each and Every Child,” – a call to action to provide each and every child the education she or he deserves.


Some Rural Schools Among First to Face Sequester Cuts

While most cuts in federal education spending forced by sequestration — the across-the-board federal spending cuts that went into effect in March — will occur in the 2013–14 school year, states and districts that receive funding through the Secure Rural Schools Act must return a portion of funding already received.


Facts and Figures: States That Spend More Than $7,000 on Instruction for Each Rural Student

Question: Which 10 states spend more than $7,000 on instruction per rural student?
Date: April 12, 2013
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Facts and Figures, School Finance/Funding


White House Education Budget Unveiled

The White House budget for fiscal year 2014 includes a 4.6% increase in discretionary federal education spending, most of which is in pre-kindergarten programs and competitive grants.


Louisiana Voucher Law Still in Courts

Governor Bobby Jindal’s voucher law prevents districts from complying with federal desegregation orders and violates the state constitution, according to recent judgments. But those rulings are on appeal
Date: April 12, 2013
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Kansas Court Rules State Violating Constitution in Education Funding Case

The three-judge panel’s decision has been met with a flurry of activity by legislators who oppose increasing funding to schools.
Date: April 12, 2013
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Federal Commission Highlights Funding as a Major Cause of Inequity Among Schools

A federal commission, of which Rural Trust President Doris Terry Williams is a member, recently issued their initial report, "For Each and Every Child." The report recommends a variety of ways to improve equity in schools and opportunity in communities.


Arizona Court Says Annual Inflationary Increase for Schools Are Not Optional

Funding increases for schools will resume after an Arizona court says the legislature cannot pick and choose which elements to support.


Arkansas Court Decision Jeopardizes Lake View Funding Reforms

A decision by the Arkansas Supreme Court could open the door to actions that reduce education finance adequacy and equity in the state.


The President's 2014 Budget Proposal for Education: Early Learning Is a Key Investment

President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2014 budget highlights key education investments in early learning, furthering the K-12 reform agenda, college affordability and quality, school safety and expanded opportunities for both middle- and low-income communities, while protecting formula programs for at-risk populations overall.


U.S. Department of Education Announces Start of 2013 i3 Grant Competition

On March 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education announced the start of the $150 million 2013 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition with the release of the program's invitation for pre-applications for the i3 "Development" grant category and the notice of final priorities for the i3 program overall.


Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant

View the latest Rural Trust i3 resources here, including archived webinars, presentations, and grant competition news. The Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant was established under section 14007 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and provides funding to support local educational agencies (LEAs) and nonprofit organizations in partnership with one or more LEAs or a consortium of schools.


Department of Education's Equity Commission Releases, "For Each and Every Child"

For Each And Every Child” On February 19, 2013, the Co-chairs of the Equity and Excellence commission presented their report to Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. The Commission's report, “For Each and Every Child,” highlights the need to eliminate “education disparities affecting millions of underserved and disadvantaged students.” Rural Trust Executive Director and Capacity Building Director, Dr. Doris Terry Williams was appointed to the Commission in 2011.


Rural School Innovations Webinar: The STAR School's "3-to-3rd Project"

Register now for the next Rural School and Community Trust webinar to be held, Wednesday, February 13, 2013, at 2:00 pm EST. This no-cost presentation will discuss The STAR School's 3-to-3rd Math Project and highlight the training films which show educators serving rural, low-income students how they can implement this innovative program.


Some Ballot Initiatives Could Have Far-Reaching Outcomes

Voters decided education-related ballot initiatives in many states this month, some with potentially far-reaching results.


Ohio School Levies Meet Mixed Success; School Funding Fight Likely

Voters in the Buckeye State approved many local district requests for funding, but calls are growing louder for a school finance system overall. 


Georgia Charter Law Faces Legal Fight

Voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative that would expand charter operations in Georgia. But some opponents are challenging it in court, arguing that the language of the initiative was misleading.


Facts and Figures: States That Spend Less Than $5,000 on Instruction for Each Rural Student

Question: Which 13 states spend less than $5,000 on instruction per rural student?
Date: November 26, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Facts and Figures, School Finance/Funding


Voters Consider Ballot Initiatives on Education

Next month's elections will steer a course in many states with education initiatives on the statewide ballot.


Plaintiffs and Allies in Colorado School Funding Case Ask High Court to Uphold Ruling

The Rural School and Community Trust was among the "friends of the court" who filed briefs urging the Colorado Supreme Court to uphold a December 2011 ruling that found the state's school finance formula unconstitutional. 
Date: October 29, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Grandparent Brings Constitutional Challenge to Idaho School Fees

Plaintiffs in a new lawsuit say fees violate the state constitution provision that guarantees "free, common schools" to students. The suit invokes a long-dormant school funding case in the state.


Massive School Funding Trial Begins in Texas

The combined cases involve six different sets of plaintiffs, representing three-quarters of the five million students in the Lone Star State.
Date: October 29, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Proposed Pennsylvania Legislation to Revise Charter School Funding Dies

Keystone state legislators struggle with reforming charter school regulations in the wake of lawsuits over funding.


Louisiana Judge Questions Whether Vouchers Impacting Desegregation Orders

The state superintendent of education must respond to allegations from a rural district that it cannot afford to comply with a new state voucher law and desegregation orders.


California Law Requiring Charters to Serve Free and Reduced Price Meals Vetoed

Governor Brown's veto revives questions about how well loose oversight serves poor students in charter schools.


South Carolina Rural Districts Hear Familiar Refrain in Court

The high-poverty rural districts at the heart of South Carolina's school funding lawsuit faced a volley of blame-the-victim questions in court. 
Date: September 26, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Consolidation, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Kansas Districts Make Final Arguments

Plaintiffs argue that rising costs and requirements and a 16% cut in funding are seriously compromising the quality of education. But the state claims cuts are “insignificant.”
Date: September 26, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Florida Districts Will Have Their Day in Court

The Florida Supreme Court has found that a group of non-profit and parent plaintiffs who charge the state fails to properly fund schools can seek a trial.
Date: September 26, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Remedy Phase in Washington State Finance Case Moves Forward

The Washington legislature is providing its first report to the Court on how it plans to fund schools in the state.
Date: September 26, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Georgia Districts Nearing Insolvency, But Funding Commission Recommends Only Minor Changes

Despite major finance problems in many districts, a state commission charged with making suggestions for funding in Georgia's public schools recommends only minor changes to the formula. 
Date: September 26, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Chester-Upland District in "Recovery Status"

The state of Pennsylvania has settled two federal lawsuits with the small cash-strapped Chester-Upland school district. 
Date: September 26, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Charter Schools, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Report Highlights Underlying Causes of Finance Inequity

A new report from the Center for American Progress analyzes the causes of deep inequities in funding in the nation's schools.
Date: September 26, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Most States Still Cutting Education According to Center for Budget and Policy Priorities Report

A report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities find that most states are still cutting funding for education, four years after the recession began.
Date: September 26, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Local, State, and Federal Revenue per Pupil, by School District Locale: 2008-09

Rural and small town schools have lower funding levels than schools in other locales.
Date: September 26, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Graphs, School Finance/Funding


Budget Sequestration: Tougher Times Ahead for Rural Schools?

High-poverty rural schools could face steep cuts if Congress and the President don’t reach agreement on how to address the nation’s budget deficit.
Date: August 28, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, What's New
Related Tags: Federal Policy, School Finance/Funding


Some Effects of Charter School Funding Plans on Smaller School Districts

The rapid expansion of charter schools in some states is raising questions about their impact on the funding of regular public schools.


Missouri Plan Prorates Funding Shortfall Among Districts

A State Department plan stabilizes funding in Missouri, but leaves the poorest districts without the funding increases they were due.
Date: July 27, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


New York Funding Lawsuit Moves Forward

Plaintiffs may continue with a lawsuit that charges the state’s school funding formula is inequitable. 
Date: July 27, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Six Finance Lawsuits in Texas

Two lawsuits brought by charter school organizations bring the number of school finance lawsuits in the state to six.
Date: July 27, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Pennsylvania Lawsuit Raises New Issues

A school finance lawsuit filed in federal court raises questions about special education and charter schools as well as adequacy of state funding.
Date: July 27, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


North Carolina, Others, Hotly Debate Charter School Rules

North Carolina is just one of the states embroiled in fierce debate, legislative activity, and court involvement over the role of charter schools in the future of public education.


Charter Schools Enroll Fewer Students with Disabilities, Report Finds

Charters have significantly fewer students with special needs, according to the GAO, but the reasons why are unclear.


Education Funding Reports Grade States and Districts

Several recent analyses of education spending have been released, and rural school finance advocates will recognize the themes. 


Major School Finance Litigation Underway Again in Kansas

Following a strong decision in their favor, Kansas districts are now challenging the state’s underfunding of education over the past six years.


Rural Schools a Growing Part of the National Community School Conversation

The Coalition for Community Schools’ biennial forum is a major convening of community school advocates, and the Rural Trust engaged participants on related policy issues with particular impact on rural schools.


South Carolina Supreme Court Moves on School Funding Case

After almost four years of silence, the Palmetto State’s highest court has ordered attorneys to re-argue the case.
Date: May 30, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Iowa Supreme Court Refuses to Reinstate School Standards Case

The Iowa Supreme Court has refused to require the state to adopt specific content standards for schools, but leaves door open for future constitutional challenges.
Date: May 30, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Gainesville Schools and Community Benefit from Foundation Investment

The Mission-Related Investment Program of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks has made it possible for Gainesville School District to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.


Missouri Formula Fight Likely to Produce Mostly Losers, Few Winners

A Missouri statehouse battle over how to deal with a combination of factors negatively impacting school funding has rural districts pitted against suburban and urban schools, and neither side is likely to win.


Hold-Harmless Clause Spurs Pennsylvania Legislators' Planned School Finance Lawsuit

Three Pennsylvania State Representatives have announced that they plan to file a lawsuit claiming the current school funding formula violates the state Constitution's equal protection clause but are targeting a rural-friendly provision in doing so.


Ohio Still Seeking Stable, Constitutional Funding Formula

In the fifteen years since the first Ohio State Supreme Court ruling finding the school finance system unconstitutional, there have been at least three attempts to come up with a new formula, and a fourth is set to begin soon.


Montana Rural District Coalition Secures Additional Funding for Schools

The State of Montana has agreed to increase school funding for FY13 by a full inflationary adjustment after being sued for not complying with a law requiring it to do so.


i3 Development Grant Preapplication Deadline

April 9 is the deadline for i3 Preapplications for the U.S. Department of Education's 2012 Investing in Innovation grant competition.


Don't Miss Upcoming i3 Deadlines!

Investing in Innovation Development Grant pre-applications must be submitted by April 9, and the deadline to apply to be a peer reviewer has been extended.
Date: March 30, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Programs, Investing in Innovation, School Finance/Funding


Arkansas Rural Advocates Protect Transportation Funding for Districts

Arkansas’ Rural Community Alliance averts a transportation funding loss of over $100K that would have impacted some of the state’s smallest districts.


Idaho School Districts Will Absorb Declining Enrollment Cost

A bill to protect schools from year to year funding swings has passed in Idaho, but local districts are footing the bill.
Date: March 30, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Budget and Policy Debate in Alaska Influenced by Finance Litigation

Alaska legislators argue over how to support schools but all are conscious of what the court has ordered.
Date: March 30, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Trial Date in Kansas School Funding Suit Looms Large

School districts suing the State of Kansas will return to court this June, and both the governor and the legislature are taking steps to try to mitigate the eventual effect of the lawsuit.
Date: March 30, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


California Bus Funds Restored, But Districts Must Cut Budgets Elsewhere

Rural school districts will be able to continue to provide transportation this year and next, but schools will still have to reduce their budgets immediately; a lawsuit contends that schools are continuing to charge illegal fees to students to cover budget needs.
Date: February 23, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: K-12, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Georgia Looking for Ways to Support Rural Teacher Recruitment

Georgia will use part of its Race to the Top award to reward teachers for relocating to rural districts.


Washington High Court Rules Funding Is Inadequate

Olympic State school funding plaintiffs have won a major victory that confirms that the state’s responsibility to fund schools is not offset by fiscal crisis.
Date: February 23, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: K-12, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Alaska's Rural Districts Settle Lawsuit; Win Additional Funding

Rural and remote schools in the state will share $18 million for programming as the state continues to hone intervention activities mandated by the ruling in Moore v. Alaska.
Date: February 23, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: K-12, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Colorado Defendants Will Appeal Loboto Plaintiff Decision

Implementation of a new funding formula in Colorado will likely be delayed by appeals by that state’s governor and State Board of Education.
Date: February 23, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: K-12, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Instructional Expenditures per High School Graduate

Smaller high schools spend more per high school student, but much less per high school graduate.


Vermont School Funding System Works

Vermont’s school funding system, which is unusual among states, provides funding levels that are equitable across districts and limits school property taxes to a percentage of household income.
Date: January 27, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Vermont's Most Unusual, Most Equitable School Funding System in a Nutshell

Vermont’s school funding system works to ensure strong educational opportunity for students across the state, no matter where they live. RPM explains how the system works.
Date: January 27, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


California's Frontal Assault on Rural Schools

Rural schools could bear the brunt of a proposal to end all funding for school transportation in California.
Date: January 27, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding, School Location


The U.S. School Transportation System is Massive

School buses transport 26 million public school students every day.
Date: January 27, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding, School Location


Money Matters When It Comes to Education

A new report analyzes school funding and student outcomes and finds that funding levels do make a difference. The analysis refutes claims, often argued by states defending their school funding systems, that funding levels don’t matter.
Date: January 27, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Desegregation/Funding Decision in Arkansas

A U.S. Circuit Court has reversed a lower court ruling ending state payments to support desegregation efforts in three Arkansas school system.


Why Rural Matters 2011-12: Statistical Indicators of the Condition of Rural Education in the 50 States

WhyRural Matters 2011-12Why Rural Matters 2011–12 is the sixth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the contexts and conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the need for policymakers to address rural education issues in their respective states.


Why Rural Matters 2011-12 Press Release

Nearly one in four American children attend rural schools and enrollment is growing at a faster rate in rural school districts than in all other places combined, according to Why Rural Matters 2011–12, a biennial report by the Rural School and Community Trust.


Colorado Coalition Wins Major Victory in School Finance Suit

Schools in Colorado have won a school finance lawsuit, and the judge made important observations about the importance of sufficient funding, facilities and opportunity for student achievement.
Date: December 30, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Facilities, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Alabama Judge Finds Rural Discrimination in School Funding But No Legal Basis to Rule for Plaintiffs

In a landmark case, a federal district court acknowledges the discriminatory nature of Alabama’s tax system on rural schools and their students, but finds no legal basis on which to sustain the plaintiffs’ challenge.
Date: November 29, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Income Related Issues, School Finance/Funding


Additional Texas Funding Lawsuits Filed

Not just one, but two lawsuits have been filed challenging the school funding system in Texas.
Date: November 29, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding, School Location


Studies Recommend Funding Changes in New Mexico

Two reports recently released in New Mexico recommend changing to the state finance system. But the reports present very different analyses of the problems and offer very different remedies.


Colorado Voters Reject Tax Increase for Schools

An effort in Colorado to raise taxes for schools has failed by a substantial margin.
Date: November 29, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


School Fees Pose Problems in Several States

As poor economies linger, more states have begun allowing schools to charge fees for a variety of school services and programs. But those fees are being challenged in several states.
Date: November 29, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Kansas Governor Making School Finance Reform Proposals

The Governor of Kansas is proposing a new school finance system, and many school supporters argue that lack of funding, and not the formula itself, is the real problem.
Date: November 29, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Facts and Figures About States With Lowest State Funding for Rural Schools

Question: Which six states spend the lowest percentage of state education funds on rural schools?
Date: November 28, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Facts and Figures, School Finance/Funding


Judge Suspends Portions of Alabama Immigration Law Affecting K-12 Education

A federal court has temporarily blocked portions of Alabama’s new immigration law, including requirements that schools report the immigration status of all newly enrolling students and their parents.


Texas Faces New School Finance Litigation

A “hold harmless” provision in a remedy to a previous Texas lawsuit locked in higher school funding for high-wealth districts through a hold-harmless provision that directs higher rates of state funding to districts with high property values. That remedy is now under fire.
Date: October 27, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Alaska Rural Districts' Case Decided

After more than a decade, the Alaska legislature has implemented a funding formula that provides facilities funding for rural districts at levels equitable to urban districts.


New Finance Lawsuit in Montana

A lawsuit seeks funding that plaintiffs say was cut out of the state’s education budget.
Date: October 27, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Rural New Jersey Districts Head Back to Court

Rural districts in New Jersey are seeking recognition of their unique needs.
Date: October 27, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Consolidation, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


South Dakota Lawsuit Ends

South Dakota’s Supreme Court has found that plaintiffs did not show the state’s school system was “clearly and unmistakably” unconstitutional.


Committee Releases Initial Proposals for School Funding in Georgia

A committee to recommend changes to Georgia’s 25-year old school finance system released its initial proposals this month.


States' Rights, Anti-Tax Officials Block Local Efforts for South Carolina Schools, Reject Federal Funding

As South Carolina schools face historic financial challenges, the Governor vetoes legislative initiatives to direct state budget surpluses to schools as well as local efforts to increase local funding, and the State Schools Superintendent rejects federal “Edujobs” funding, fails to address the under-funding of special education that results in a multi-million dollar federal penalty, and turns down RTTT application.
Date: August 25, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Consolidation, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


North Carolina Wrangling Over 4-Year Kindergarten

Lawmakers are challenging a judge’s ruling that the decision of the North Carolina legislature to limit enrollment of at-risk children in the state’s four-year-old kindergarten program is unconstitutional.
Date: August 25, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Early Childhood, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Colorado Lawsuit Opens

After numerous setbacks, arguments in the Lobato school funding case are being heard this month.
Date: August 25, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Washington School Funding Arguments Heard by State High Court

The State of Washington contends it is fulfilling its educational duties despite funding cuts to schools of nearly $4 billion.
Date: July 29, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


North Carolina Budget Writers Cannot Impede State’s Constitutional Duty, Judge Says

A judge rules that places caps on the number of low-income children who can participate in a state-funding pre-K program is unconstitutional.
Date: July 29, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Sources of Public School Funding, by Locale

Rural schools receive a lower portion of their school funding from the state than do suburban or town schools.
Date: July 29, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Graphs, School Finance/Funding, School Location


Annenberg Public Policy Center News

Working with the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the Rural School and Community Trust provides support for rural schools in the form of scholarships and student-focused programs.


Colorado TABOR Lawsuit Filed

A Colorado lawsuit raises questions about "direct" and "representational" democracy.
Date: June 25, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Indiana Legislature Starves Small Districts; Feeds Voucher Program

Extensive changes to education policy in Indiana will reduce public school funding, especially for smaller districts, and will divert millions into a private school voucher program.
Date: June 25, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Idaho's Declining Enrollment Safety Net Survives Another Year

In a year of massive educational policy changes in Idaho, the state’s safety net for schools with declining enrollments survives, barely.


Maine Funding Formula Under Scrutiny

Rural school districts in coastal Maine and other areas of the state where increases in property values have rapidly outpaced increases in income of full-time residents are seeking relief from aspects of the state’s school funding formula that result in lower state support for their schools.
Date: May 29, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Alabama School Funding Trial Wraps Up

Final arguments in an Alabama school funding lawsuit tie very low rural school funding to tax laws and other aspects of the state’s 1901 constitution intended to deny education opportunity to African American and low-income white residents.


Case Has Far-Reaching Implications for Religious Freedom and Education

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed an Arizona tax credit for private school scholarships to survive. The rational could make it harder for citizens to challenge government spending on religious activities.  


Rural School Funding News Special Series:
Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

In this series, Rural School Funding News has reviewed general principles of school finance and sharing information about school funding systems that support rural schools and their unique characteristics and needs. While there are no easy answers to questions about how to fund schools, especially in this economic climate, we hope that these articles provide you with information about promising practices, ideas for advocacy, and policy guidelines that inform your analysis and support work on the school finance system in your state.


Arkansas Increases School Funding and Addresses Transportation

In an arrangement with Governor Mike Beebe, the Arkansas legislature increased across-the-board funding for school, while Beebe set aside money for a special fund for districts with high transportation costs.


Arizona Taxpayers Barred from Challenging Tuition Tax Credit Program

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed tax credits to be used for private religious schools in Arizona by denying taxpayers the right to challenge the program in Court.


Rhode Island Lawsuit Will Be Resumed

School districts that had agreed to put their school finance lawsuit on hold have filed an amended complaint after funding levels for schools failed to meet recommended levels.


Rural School Funding News Special Series: Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

In this series, Rural School Funding News is reviewing general principles of school finance and sharing information about school funding systems that support rural schools and their unique characteristics and needs. While there are no easy answers to questions about how to fund schools, especially in this economic climate, we hope that these articles will provide you promising practices, ideas for advocacy, and guidelines that are easily transferable in your analysis and work on your own school finance systems.


South Carolina Faces Multiple Budget Woes

South Carolina lost its chance to receive federal stimulus funding and is facing nearly a billion dollar shortfall in the state budget.
Date: March 30, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Kansas Lawmakers Propose Constitution Change

A legislative committee in Kansas has proposed giving the legislature sole control over the state’s school finance system.
Date: March 30, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


California Lawsuits Must Have Different Focus

A California judge has ruled that school funding lawsuits may move forward only if they change their focus.
Date: March 30, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Wyoming Backs Off Local Control

The Wyoming legislature passed several measures the will decrease the control local school districts have over spending and teacher evaluations.


Alabama Funding Discrimination Lawsuit Moves Forward

A lawsuit in Alabama claims that several provisions of the state’s constitution, particularly those related to limitations on rural property taxes, are rooted in historic efforts to deny educational opportunity to African Americans. 


Advanced Placement Incentive Program Grant

The U.S. Department of Education invites applications for the Advanced Placement Incentive program. Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply is April 15, 2011.


New Report Finds Consolidation More Likely to Yield Harm Than Benefit

A recent wave of research studies suggests that school and district consolidation has already proceeded beyond the point of a favorable cost-benefit ratio and is unlikely to yield fiscal or educational benefits. De-consolidation may be more likely to improve fiscal efficiency and educational services.


Rural Students Deserve Fairness

An article by Rural Trust Policy Director Marty Strange is featured in the March issue of Phi Delta Kappan magazine. Strange will also be interviewed in a free webinar on March 24th. Read more to learn how to access both the article and the webinar.
Date: February 28, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, Rural Trust Recommends
Related Tags: Consolidation, School Finance/Funding, School/District Size


Facts and Figures About States With Funding Parity in Rural School Districts

Question: In which ten states do funding levels vary the least between rural districts? In other words, in which states are rural schools most likely to have about the same amount of funding as other rural schools?
Date: February 24, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Facts and Figures, School Finance/Funding


RSFN Special Series
Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

Characteristic Eight: An Accurate Match of Resources to Needs. Making sure that students who have out-of-the-ordinary educational needs or characteristics get the support they need is a critical part of a strong school finance system.
Date: February 24, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Income Related Issues, School Finance/Funding, Title I


Mississippi Communities Pushing Hard to Protect School Funding

Efforts of public education supporters to protect school funding are showing signs of success.


Changes to Arkansas Consolidation Law Proposed

Schools on an Arkansas “watch list” may get more time to resolve difficulties before facing mandated consolidation.
Date: February 24, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Consolidation, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Iowa Debating Funding Solutions

A plan to shift school funding entirely to the state is breaking out along party lines in Iowa.
Date: February 24, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


School Funding Interpretation Challenged as Arizona Legislators Cut Corporate Taxes

Arizona legislators face a lawsuit after reinterpreting the state’s school funding law, and a recent tax cut will likely further reduce revenues for schools.
Date: February 24, 2011
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Rural Trust Executive Director Appointed to Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission

Doris Terry Williams, executive director of the Rural School and Community Trust and director of the Trust's Capacity Building Program, has been appointed to the Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission.


Taking Advantage: The Rural Competitive Preference in the Investing in Innovation Program

Taking Advantage: The Rural Competitive Preference in the Investing in Innovation ProgramThis Rural Trust report analyzes the impact of the rural competitive preference in the first round of i3 grants issued by the U.S. Department of Education. The analysis considers whether the rural claim was well-made by the applicants and well-evaluated by the readers. In short, the federal grant program did little to attract authentically rural innovations to address the challenges of high-needs rural schools.


Rural School Funding News Special Series:
Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

Equity and adequacy are school finance terms used so frequently in discussion that they seem almost interchangeable. But they are actually two different, but interdependent and equally important, measures of a state’s school funding system and how well it provides educational resources and opportunity to all students and all schools.


Wyoming Legislation Could Add Strings to Funding

Legislative proposals could add a number of new requirements for districts to the school finance formula.


South Dakota Funding Proposal Worse Than Expected

Schools in South Dakota thought budget cuts would total 5%, but cuts are likely to be much deeper.


Washington Special Education Funding Lawsuit Ends

Court denies districts’ request for more funding for special education; rural districts would be disproportionately affected by proposed budget cuts.


North Carolina Weighing Options

North Carolina facing severe education funding cuts and increases in student homelessness.


California Settles School Fee Lawsuit

California will enforce its law prohibiting schools from charging students “fees” to participate in certain classes and activities.


Funding Crisis Driving Some Rural Oregon Districts to Charters

The funding crisis and other budget cuts are pushing some small rural districts in Oregon to become charter schools.


Financing Community Schools: Leveraging Resources to Support Student Success

Financing Community SchoolsCommunity schools are one of the most efficient and effective strategies to improve outcomes for students as well as families and communities. This report from the Coalition for Community Schools details how community schools efficiently leverage dollars to support student learning.


Facts and Figures About Instructional Expenditures for Rural Students

Question: In which 11 states do average instructional expenditures fall under $4,500 per rural student?

Date: December 21, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Facts and Figures, School Finance/Funding, Teacher Issues


Rural School Funding News Special Series:
Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

A strong school finance system depends on an equitable and productive tax system

Date: December 21, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Education Policy and Activism, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Consolidation Lawsuit in Arkansas Addresses Funding Issues

A small rural Arkansas district has sued the state in an attempt to increase funding equity and to establish limits on how long students can be forced to ride a bus to school



Wisconsin Funding Plan Unveiled

A new funding plan proposed in Wisconsin would reduce reliance on property taxes and provide protections specifically for rural districts



Montana in Fight Over School Funding Shifts

Revenues are higher in Montana than predicted earlier this year, but the state is still debating how to fund schools



Alabama Faces Serious Budgetary Woes

Alabama schools, which have already sustained a reduction in state funds of 20% over the last four years, may face additional mid-year cuts



South Dakota Districts to be Heard Before State Supreme Court

A school funding lawsuit with a circuitous history will be heard next month in South Dakota



Utah Takes on Revenue Issues to Address Low Spending

Utah spends less per pupil than any other state, but that could change…
Date: November 26, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Oklahoma Ballot Initiative on School Funding Soundly Defeated

Voters seemed driven by concerns about where money would come from to fund a proposal to raise state per pupil spending to the regional average…
Date: November 26, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Alaska Ballot Initiative on School Funding Successful

Voters approve a bond initiative that will build several new rural schools…


Arkansas Adequacy Level Set

Arkansas schools will get $60 million more next year…
Date: November 26, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Florida Class Size Limits Will Remain in Place

A constitutional provision that places absolute caps on class sizes survives in Florida…
Date: November 26, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Class Size, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Ohio Funding Formula Remains Controversial After Election

School funding was a hot topic in Ohio’s gubernatorial campaign and it is still hot as the state readies itself for its Race to the Top award…


Kansas Lawsuit Filed

A coalition of school districts has filed a school funding lawsuit in Kansas…
Date: November 26, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Proposed California Funding System Fixes Are a Mixed Bag for Rural Schools

A California policy institute has outlined guidelines for reforming California's complex school funding system. but some of the proposals would likely harm many rural schools…
Date: November 26, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Rural School Innovations Webinar: "Schools to Watch"

“Schools to Watch: School Transformation Network" was the theme of the first event in the Rural Trust's 2010-2011 Rural School Innovations Webinar Series. Audio and Presentation PDF Now Available!.


Consolidation Watch: State Policies on an Important Rural Issue

Consolidation news from Michigan and Vermont.
Date: October 27, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Consolidation, School Finance/Funding


RSFN Special Series:
Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

Achieving a balanced and equitable share of local, state, and federal funds can be tricky.
Date: October 27, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding, School/District Size


Kansas Political Buzz All About School Finance

Political posturing around school funding in Kansas.
Date: October 27, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Florida Voters Will Weigh in on Class Size Limits

The Florida Education Association’s attempt to stop a ballot initiative related to class size caps ends in court.
Date: October 27, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Class Size, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Texas Preparing for Funding Challenge

Texas legislators and school board members exploring options for changing funding system.
Date: October 27, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Arizona School Funding Lawsuit Ends

A funding lawsuit will start over in trial court after the state Supreme Court refused to hear it.
Date: October 27, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


A New School Finance Report Ranks State Funding Systems

A new report ranks the fairness of school funding formulas.
Date: October 27, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Do Court Cases Matter?

An article responds to an influential book on school finance litigation.
Date: October 27, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Fate of Secure Rural Schools Act Unclear

A source of funding for rural schools located in National Forest counties is caught up in the fight over the federal budget....


Texas Proposal Rewards District Cost-Sharing

Texas districts could receive a portion of their savings if they agree to share services....
Date: September 28, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Consolidation, School Finance/Funding, School/District Size


Iowa Losing Rural School Districts

In the face of budget cuts and financial pressures, more rural Iowa districts are consolidating....


Calls for Consolidation in Michigan Reveal Many Issues

Calls to consolidate school districts in Michigan are raising all kinds of complicated issues and highlighting exaggerations, over-simplifications, and ideological motivations....
Date: September 28, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Consolidation, School Finance/Funding, School/District Size


Nevada Considers New Formula

The largest district in Nevada is pushing for a rewrite of the state’s 1967-era school funding formula....
Date: September 28, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


South Carolina System Subject of Gubernatorial Campaign

South Carolina's method of funding K–12 education is a campaign issue in the Governor’s race, again....
Date: September 28, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Arkansas Panel Waits to Make Budget Recommendation

Arkansas panel won't say yet how much money is needed for schools....
Date: September 28, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


West Virginia Governor Calls for Review of State Education Spending

After he failed to get legislation passed to enable West Virginia to compete for federal Race to the Top funds, Governor Joe Manchin has appointed a task force to review state education spending....


Arizona ELL Case Back in Court

Arizona’s long-running English Language Learning case is back in court this month....


Georgia Charter Law Under Fire

Local districts in Georgia are suing the state over charter school authorization....
Date: September 28, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Florida Funding Lawsuit Moves Forward

A school funding lawsuit in Florida will move forward, and a judge rules against a challenge to an initiative that could ease strict class size limits....
Date: September 28, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Class Size, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Class Action California Lawsuit Challenges School Fees

A class action lawsuit challenges whether school districts can charge students a variety of fees for basic school services....


RSFN Special Series:
Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

Part IV in the Rural School Funding News (RSFN) special series, "Financing Rural Schools," looks at provisions for small school and/or district size.


Wyoming Debates Funding Accountability

Lawmakers in Wyoming are considering changes to the state funding formula that could reduce spending flexibility for some school districts…


Class Size Caps Are Subject of Ballot, Lawsuits in Florida

An amendment placing strict caps on class sizes in Florida could be altered in court or at the ballot box this fall…
Date: August 26, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Accountability, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Ohio Governor Faces Criticism Over Education Claims

Governor Ted Strickland’s claims about education funding in Ohio are under scrutiny…
Date: August 26, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Accountability, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Kansas Responds to Threat of Lawsuit

The possibility of a school funding lawsuit in Kansas has many lawmakers expressing support for meeting current constitutional requirements…
Date: August 26, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Accountability, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Rural District's Successful Literacy Program Making a Big Difference

In Mena, Arkansas, students are reading. A lot. Test scores are up significantly. Title I funding makes the district’s comprehensive literacy program possible. But programs like this one could be in jeopardy.
Date: August 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Income Related Issues, School Finance/Funding, Teacher Issues, Title I


RSFN Special Series:
Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

Part III in the Rural School Funding News (RSFN) special series, “Financing Rural Schools,” looks at provisions for geographic differences and cost-of-living factors.


Second California Lawsuit

Second funding lawsuit filed in California brings increased pressure to fix the system.


Arkansas Lawsuit Makes Agricultural Claims

A lawsuit challenging the consolidation of a rural district makes unusual claims.


Indiana Says No More Bus Fees

Indiana Attorney General Says No to Bus Fees.


Wisconsin Schools Stand to Gain in New Funding Formula Proposal

Wisconsin’s chief school officer introduces a new school funding formula.
Date: July 23, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Montana Considers Draconian Cuts

Schools in Montana could see very serious cuts in funding, despite a 2004 court ruling.
Date: July 23, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


New Louisiana Law Offers Freedom From Many School Regulations

A new law in Louisiana could undermine many other laws and policies related to education, including student support and student-teacher ratios.


Washington Lawsuit Moves Forward

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of special education funding moves forward in Washington.
Date: July 23, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Disabilities, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Oklahoma Ballot Initiative Faces Opposition

A bill to increase spending on Oklahoma schools faces varied opposition in the state, in part, because the measure would peg spending to that of neighboring states.


Full Service Community Schools Grants Due July 23

The U.S. Department of Education has released the Full Service Community Schools (FSCS) grant. The Notice of Intent to Apply deadline is June 23; the application deadline is July 23, 2010.


Rural Trust to Examine Effectiveness of Competitive Grants for Rural Schools

Competitive grants are an increasingly important part of federal funding for schools. But will they reach the highest-poverty rural schools or enhance equal educational opportunity.


Options for Fixing Title I Inequity: Tying Allocations to Average Local Salaries Makes Matters Worse

The Formula Fairness Campaign is exploring options for ways to fix the Title I formulas. One option is to use a figure calculated by the National Center for Education Statistics to determine how much college-educated non-teachers make in local labor markets around the country. This figure could be used to estimate the cost of providing an education in each school district. But this method would make things worse for most rural districts.
Date: June 25, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, What's New
Related Tags: Formula Fairness Campaign, School Finance/Funding, Title I


RSFN Special Series:
Financing Rural Schools: Characteristics of Strong Rural School Finance Systems

Part II in an ongoing series of articles about what makes a school funding system work for rural schools.
Date: June 25, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Rhode Island Gets School Funding Formula

The last state in the nation without a school finance formula finally gets one.
Date: June 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


School Funding Lawsuit Filed in Arizona

A group of plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit charging Arizona with failing to follow its funding law.
Date: June 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


School Districts Intend to Sue Kansas

Cuts to education spur a new school funding lawsuit in Kansas.
Date: June 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Pennsylvania Districts Making Big Cuts

School districts in Pennsylvania are making big cuts to their budgets, according to a new survey.
Date: June 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Colorado Makes Demands on Districts Involved in Lawsuit

Colorado is demanding extensive — and expensive — records from school districts in the state.
Date: June 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


California Lawsuit Challenges School Funding System

A lawsuit filed in California could force changes to the state’s funding system, and its influential Proposition 13 amendment that drastically altered the way California collects revenue.
Date: June 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


State Spending Averages Skew Title I Allocations to Poor Districts

Districts in richer states that support education get a lot more federal money to improve the education of very low-income students than districts in poor states that provide less funding for schools...


Title I Update: Two New Analyses Point Up More Inequities in Title I Funding

The Rural Trust’s Formula Fairness Campaign  has conducted two new analyses of Title I funding that demonstrate how — and why — some districts get less federal support than other districts for each very low-income student. One report shows how districts located in states that spend more on education get more Title I funding. The other report analyzes one option for fixing Title I to make it more equitable for high-poverty school districts, especially those located in rural areas.

 


Foundations Launch i3 Registry

Twelve foundations are launching the Foundation Registry i3, a new online application that aims to simplify the private funding application process for potential grantees and increase access and visibility for new, especially smaller, applicants.


Education Official Visits Rural Schools Partnership Conference

The newly christened Ozarks Teacher Corps is an innovative partnership that will be worth watching to see if it can be replicated in other rural areas, said John White, a U.S. Department of Education leader who attended the annual Rural Schools Partnership conference on May 6, 2010 in Thomasville, Mo.


Rural School Districts Eligible for Federal i3 Grant Application Assistance

Through a new $1.4 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Rural School and Community Trust will address provide customized technical assistance for rural school districts seeking i3 grants.
     For more information regarding technical assistance support through the Kellogg grant, please complete this short questionnaire (MSWord document) and return it via email.


Quick and Dirty: The RPM Take on A Blueprint for Reform

The Obama administration has issued its goals for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We share what we think…


RPM's Take on the Data Provisions of Blueprint for Reform

Student test score data is the core of Blueprint. Test scores would be used to rate teacher effectiveness and reward or reconstitute schools. And, more student and teacher data would be collected and published…


RPM's Take on the Reward/Challenge Provisions of Blueprint for Reform

Blueprint puts in place new rating categories, Reward and Challenge, for schools, districts, and states...


RPM's Take on the English Language Learner (ELL) Provisions of Blueprint for Reform

Blueprint keeps formula grants in place for ELL programs and requires states to put in grade level proficiency standards…


RPM's Take on Rural Language in Blueprint for Reform

Blueprint includes language about rural schools, but little of it will actually make much positive difference…


Rhode Island Funding Formula Proposed

After 15 years Rhode Island may get a formula for funding schools…
Date: March 26, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Consolidation Plans Being Pushed in Kansas

Several bills that would require or incentivize district consolidation are under consideration in Kansas…


Colorado School Funding Lawsuit Moving Ahead

After a court reversal, plaintiffs are joining in a school funding lawsuit…


South Dakota Funding Fight Update

Funding getting worse and lawsuit is moving forward in South Dakota…
Date: March 26, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Consolidation, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Wisconsin Rural Schools Banking on Local Voters

Funding shortfalls are forcing many rural school districts to seek voter approvals to override levy caps…
Date: March 26, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Washington Districts Will Look Locally to Meet Funding Gap

Shortfalls in education funding in Washington have led legislators to lift levy caps in the state…
Date: March 26, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Meet the April 1st i3 "Intent to Apply" Deadline!

April 1, 2010 is the deadline to send an email stating your intent to apply for an i3 grant...
Date: March 26, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Investing in Innovation, School Finance/Funding


The RPM Run-Down of Formula and Competitive Grants Proposed in Blueprint

Blueprint suggests a number of programs that will be available to schools through grants. RPM has categorized those programs based on whether Blueprint identifies the program as available on a formula or competitive basis...


Join the Formula Fairness Campaign

Join the Formula Fairness Campaign to fix what’s wrong about the formula for distributing federal funds for the education of disadvantaged students in public schools.


Investing in Innovation (i3): A Rural School Technical Assistance Initiative Webinar

Investing in Innovation (i3): A Rural School Technical Assistance Initiative was the theme of this March 19, 2010 webinar from the Rural School and Community Trust.


Washington Plaintiffs Victorious in School Funding Lawsuit

A Washington State judge finds funding levels unconstitutional and cites over-reliance on local property levies as a problem…
Date: February 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Kansas Plaintiff Districts Will Begin a New Lawsuit

Kansas districts will not be able to re-open an earlier school funding case and will file a new lawsuit instead…


Ohio Districts Targeted for Consolidation by Report

A national think-tank has co-authored a report recommending closing at least 200 districts in Ohio…


Rhode Island Lawsuit Filed

A Rhode Island lawsuit may force the state to adopt a school finance formula…
Date: February 25, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Alaska Rural School Facilities Receiving Attention by Policymakers

Rural schools in remote regions of Alaska may finally see some resolution to their facilities needs, ten years into a facilities funding case…
Date: February 25, 2010
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Consolidation Proposals in Vermont

A variety of proposals in Vermont are pushing dramatic reductions in the number of school districts in the state…


Find Out How the Title I Number Weighting Option Affects Your School District

The Rural Trust has been reporting on disparities in Title I funding over the past year, filling you in on the reallocation of funds in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Now you can find out exactly how your school district is affected.
Date: February 22, 2010
Related Categories: Funding/Grants/Scholarships, What's New
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding, Title I


Title I Formula Reverses Robin Hood

The biggest victims of “number weighting” in the distribution of Title I funds are high poverty small cities. Title I funds are intended to provide additional federal support to school districts to help meet the needs of students with extra learning challenges, especially challenges related to poverty. But a change to the formula — the number weighting provision — means that many large districts with low rates of student poverty are getting a lot more Title I funding per student that smaller districts with high rates of student poverty…
Date: January 29, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, What's New
Related Tags: No Child Left Behind, School Finance/Funding, Title I


Rural Education Featured in Work of Civil Rights Award Winner

The creator of documentary film about rural education in South Carolina wins civil rights award…
Date: January 28, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Income Related Issues, School Finance/Funding, State Policy


Kansas Districts Will Go Back to Court

School districts say Kansas is not meeting its constitutional obligation…
Date: January 28, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding, State Policy


Plans for Implementing New Funding System in Ohio

New funding moving ahead in Ohio despite budget challenges…
Date: January 28, 2010
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding, State Policy


Large Very Low Poverty Districts Benefit in Title I Formula at Expense of High Poverty Districts Large and Small

New analysis of the effects of “number-weighting” in the Title I formulas demonstrate that very low poverty large districts are big winners, getting more money per poor student than very high poverty large districts. Smaller very poor districts loseTitle I funding to both high and low poverty large districts - all because of the effects of the formula…


Here and There Across the Rural U.S.

State and regional education news... 
Date: December 29, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Consolidation, School Finance/Funding, Teacher Issues


Nebraska Cuts Likely to Hit Rural Districts Harder

Changes to the state’s funding formula will cause cuts to state education funding to hit Nebraska’s rural districts hard…

 
Date: December 29, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Adequacy Lawsuit File in Florida

Decreases in state funding and unequal impact on low-income and minority students are the basis of claims against the Sunshine State…


Date: December 29, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Minority Students, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Rural Education Finance Center Director Amanda Adler Published in Award-Winning Book

A newly released book on school finance, A Quality Education for Every Child: Stories from the Lawyers on the Front Line, was a finalist in the National Best Books Awards. Rural Trust’s Amanda Adler, Director of the REFC, wrote the chapter on rural school finance lawsuits…
Date: November 29, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding, School/District Size


Colorado Court Says Case Can Move Forward

Colorado’s highest court says that school funding issues are a matter for the courts…
Date: November 29, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Mississippi Eyes District Consolidation

The budget crisis may be a reason to put school consolidation on the legislative table in Mississippi even though some state leaders point out it is unlikely to produce savings…


Idaho Looking for Ways to Cut Spending

Idaho’s struggles to cut spending are not likely to lead to consolidation proposals…


Kansas Faces Multiple School Funding Issues

Consolidation proposals could be under consideration in Kansas as a way to cut costs, but some warn that unpopular school closures would likely follow…


Washington Funding Ruling Overturned

Washington court rules that differences in salaries are not a concern…
Date: November 29, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding, Teacher Issues


Rural School and Community Trust Capitol Hill Briefing

Monday, November 16, 2009, 3:00-4:00pm EST, the Rural School and Community Trust will present a Capitol Hill briefing to discuss findings from its recent research report Why Rural Matters 2009.


Why Rural Matters 2009: State and Regional Challenges and Opportunities

Why Rural Matters 2009Why Rural Matters 2009 is the fifth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the contexts and conditions of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the need for policymakers to address rural education issues in their respective states.


Charter School Funding Suits

Several states have school funding lawsuits involving charter schools. This is a relatively new development in the school finance world. RSFN summarizes these new developments here...
Date: October 30, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


New Mexico Districts Contemplating Lawsuit

A school funding lawsuit may be in the making in New Mexico after the state's Senate failed to take up a bill revising the finance formula…
Date: October 30, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Kansas School Funding Coalition Reorganizing

Kansas districts may attempt to re-open a long-standing lawsuit now that funding levels have dropped lower than they were before the suit…
Date: October 30, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Oklahoma Funding Battle Heating Up

Both sides are trying to persuade voters on a constitutional amendment in Oklahoma that would require the state to spend more on K-12 education…
Date: October 30, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


New Georgia Funding Organization Speaks Out

After a series of attempts by the state to stop a group of school districts from suing the state over school funding, a new coalition has issued a report examining the need for changes in Georgia's finance system…
Date: October 30, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Missouri Court Says Education Not a Fundamental Right

Missouri students are not entitled to equal funding because education is not a fundamental right and the state is meeting its constitutional spending requirement for education…
Date: September 29, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Ratio of Dollars Spent on Instruction for Every One Dollar Spent on Transportation

Ratio of dollars spent on instruction for every one dollar spent on  transportation, by rural, suburban, town, and urban locales.
Date: September 29, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Graphs, School Finance/Funding


High-Poverty Rural, Small Town Districts Concentrated in Distinct Regions

The poorest rural school districts educate more than a million students with poverty rates higher than many cities. These districts are concentrated in distinct regions, mainly across the southern half of the country from California to North Carolina and into central Appalachia…


Groups Address School Pushout Crisis

As community groups and child advocates respond to increasing incidents of severe and excessive school discipline and rising rates of students being pushed out of school, it’s becoming clearer what kinds of approaches can help…


Identifying the Poorest Rural Schools

The Rural Trust has identified the 900 poorest rural districts in the country. Here’s how we did it…


Getting Real About Rural Schools

Misconceptions about rural schools abound and they hurt students and communities, especially in the toughest places. In this essay we explore some of the realities of rural education and some of the things that would actually make a positive difference…


Ohio Gets New School Finance System

Ohio gets a new funding formula, despite current budget situation…
Date: August 20, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Rural South Dakota Schools Win Major Victory

South Dakota districts will be allowed to participate in school finance lawsuit…
Date: August 20, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Facts and Figures About Education Funding for Rural Districts: States With Least Inequality

Question: Which five states have the least inequality in per pupil school funding among rural districts?
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: State/Region
Related Tags: Facts and Figures, School Finance/Funding


Indiana Funding Declining and Unlikely to Improve

Budget cuts and a court ruling mean poor schools won’t see funding increases soon…
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Georgia Cutting Funding for Low Wealth Districts

Georgia reduces state funds that help make up for funding disparities in low wealth districts…
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Cuts and Consolidation on Table in Pennsylvania Budget

Pennsylvania’s budget battles have put public school districts under threat of consolidation and drawn the attention of the U.S. Department of Education…
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


9th Annual Quality Education Conference

National conference focuses on school funding issues....
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: All States, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Special Education Ruling

More special education students could be eligible for reimbursement for private school tuition…
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: All States, Federal Policy, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


ELL Funding in Arizona

Arizona is not violating the Equal Educational Opportunity Act in the way it funds programs for English Language Learners, but a lower court must review…


Medicaid Rural Change

Medicaid can continue to reimburse schools for some expenses related to providing services to students with disabilities…
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Disabilities, Federal Policy, Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Washington State Enacts Reforms During Recession

Washington State takes the unusual action of cutting education spending AND implementing a new reform program that will increase spending…
Date: July 18, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Rural North Carolinians Get Involved in State Budget Process

In a state with one of the worst deficits in the country, rural advocates are working to protect educational opportunities for rural students….
Date: June 27, 2009
Related Categories: Community Advocate, Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


Deep Cuts Go Deepest in Poorest Rural Places

Legislative fight in Washington State reveals unique challenges facing rural schools in the worst recession in decades….
Date: June 26, 2009
Related Categories: Community Advocate, Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


Facts and Figures About State Education Funding Inequality for Rural Districts

Figures from Why Rural Matters 2007 describe five states that have the most inequality in combined state and local revenue per pupil among rural districts....
Date: June 25, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Facts and Figures, School Finance/Funding


Rural South Carolina Middle School Gets Donation of Furniture

The rural middle school referenced in President Obama’s address to Congress gets a donation of school furniture….


The Leonore Annenberg Scholarship Fund 2009 Recipient

Lydia Ducharme, a rising senior at Hazen Union School in Hardwick, Vermont has been named the 2009 Rural School and Community Trust recipient of the Leonore Annenberg Scholarship.


The Leonore Annenberg School Fund

Two rural South Carolina elementary schools working with the Rural School and Community Trust have won grants of $100,000 each to develop and implement math programs for their pre-k through 5th grade students.


Rural Education Finance Center

The Rural Education Finance Center works on all levels to improve educational opportunity for rural children by reducing inequities in state school finance systems, strengthening the fiscal practices of rural schools, and insuring the adequacy of funding to rural schools.


South Carolina Court Orders Gov. Sanford to Let His People Go

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered Governor Mark Sanford to apply for federal stimulus money Sanford had insisted on not accepting because the federal government required it be used to help offset state budget cuts affecting schools and other public services.
Date: June 08, 2009
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


Rural-Urban Funding Gap Grows in Nebraska

Funding gap between rural small districts and urban large districts widens in Nebraska…


Wisconsin Considers Funding Changes for Rural Schools

A bill in Wisconsin would help schools with declining enrollment, transportation costs…


Missouri Arguments Heard

Rural Missouri districts appeal school funding lawsuit decision…


Ohio Funding Reform Faces Opposition

Plans to increase the state’s share of school funding face opposition in Ohio…


Facts and Figures About State Education Funding for Rural Districts

Figures from Why Rural Matters reveal a disparity between the percentage of state funds designated for rural communites and the percentage of public schools located in rural places...


Gross Disparity: Some Poor Pennsylvania Students Get Much More Title I Funding Than Others

A recent analysis of Title I funding by the Rural Trust finds that two of the four formulas that are used to provide extra funding for poor students provide much more federal funding per eligible student to some districts than to others with similar or higher poverty rates....


Governor Refusing Education Stimulus Funding

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is refusing to use $700 million in federal stimulus funding for schools and other state agencies to avoid budget cuts and layoffs....


Arizona Court Strikes Voucher Program

The Arizona Supreme Court has upheld an appellate court decision striking down two private school voucher programs as unconstitutional.....


Obama Administration Files Amicus Brief in Arizona ELL Case

The politics surrounding Arizona’s long-running Flores English-Language Learner (ELL) lawsuit continue to heat up in advance of its hearing before the United States Supreme Court.....


South Dakota Judge Rules Funding Not Unconstitutional

A South Dakota judge has found that the state’s funding system needs improvement but is not unconstitutional.....


Georgia Attorney General Rules School Group Illegal

The organization that brought a school finance lawsuit in Georgia has been declared illegal by the state’s attorney general in an opinion solicited by the governor....


Rural Trust Joins in Friend of the Court Brief in Missouri Lawsuit

The Rural Trust, along with Missouri School Boards Association, Education Justice at the Education Law Center and the National School Board Association have filed a friend of the court brief in the Missouri Supreme Court earlier this year.....


RSIN Webinar: Ways for Rural Schools to Invest Title I Stimulus Funds, April 29, 2009

"Innovative Ways for Rural Schools to Invest Title I Stimulus Funds" was the topic of the April 2009 Rural School Innovation Network webinar.


Many Children Left Behind

Many Children Left BehindMany Children Left Behind presents analysis of the distribution of Title I funds in Pennsylvania showing the unintended consequences of these weighting systems. A very few large districts benefit from the weighting systems, but most districts of all sizes with high percentages of eligible students get far less money per eligible student.


Understanding and Developing Programs for English Language Learners in Rural Districts

Across the country English Language Learners (ELL) are enrolling in rural schools in record numbers. Many schools that have never enrolled ELL students find themselves stumped about how to best respond when the first few ELL students enroll or when their numbers rapidly increase. In this edition of RPM-PX we share a report that explores how rural school districts respond to emergent ELL student communities.


Give Every Child More than the Best Seat in the House (Chamber)

Rural Trust President Rachel Tompkins helps put the letter of a South Carolina teen in national perspective...


Rural South Carolinians Help District Rethink Consolidation

Communities pulled together in South Carolina to stop the closure of their schools…


South Carolina Changes Rules to Accommodate Shortfall

Facing severe cuts to education spending, South Carolina changes spending and employment guidelines for districts…


Wisconsin Network Proposes New Funding Plan

Wisconsin group proposes comprehensive new funding plan for schools...


Poorer Smaller Districts Lose Out in Stimulus

The federal stimulus package provides needed relief to many schools, but it replicates serious inequities for smaller districts with high poverty rates…


Arkansas Communities Forge Revitalization Process

Three very different rural communities in Arkansas are partnering with the statewide rural education group ACRE to improve the economies, quality of life, and future prospects of their places. Read about what they have discovered is essential to the process…


Bill to Limit School Size in New Mexico

Under legislation introduced in the New Mexico legislature, state funds could not be used for new construction of larger schools and schools could only be consolidated if “consolidation is in the best interest of students served by each of the schools…”


Maine Consolidation Fight Twists Again

Maine’s forced school district consolidation process continues down its rocky road.


Education Funding in the Stimulus: An Overview

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides significant additional funding for public schools. Details are still forthcoming, but we outline the basic funding streams and their requirements…


Alaska Still Denying Rural Students in Struggling Schools

Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason has ruled that the state of Alaska is continuing to deny students in struggling rural schools the education they are guaranteed under the Alaska Constitution.


Arizona ELL Case to Go to U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the long-running Flores lawsuit on appeal from legislative leaders in Arizona and the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne.


Oregon Court Rules State Not Obligated

The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled against a group of families and school districts that brought a finance lawsuit against the state in 2006.


Arguments Heard on Whether South Dakota Districts Can Sue State

The South Dakota Supreme Court has heard arguments on whether school districts can sue the state or finance a lawsuit against the state...


There You Go Again

Lavina Grandon, Policy and Education Director of Arkansas’s Advocates for Community and Rural Education to an editorial, responds to an editorial entitled, “There they go again,” published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; February 10, 2009; page 16 (Editorial section).


A New School Funding Formula Proposed in New Mexico

A new funding formula that was produced by a legislatively funded study committee and its consultants would increase overall state aid by over 15%, according to a Rural School and Community Trust analysis...


Why Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth

Why Rural Matters 2007Why Rural Matters 2007 is the fourth in a series of biennial reports analyzing the importance of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the urgency for policymakers in each state to address rural education issues.


Pennsylvania School Funding Formula Report

Pennsylvania School Funding ReportPennsylvania has enacted substantial changes in its school funding formula, including a factor that adjusts a district's state aid based on estimates of the relative cost of hiring teachers in that particular district compared to the cost of hiring equally qualified teachers in other districts.


East Iberville High Gets $48,797 Grant

A State Farm Insurance youth advisory board has awarded a $48,797 grant to fund teaching of financial literacy tostudents at East Iberville High School in St. Gabriel, Louisiana.


An Analysis of the Impacts of the AIR Funding Formula Proposal on New Mexico School Districts

Impacts of the AIR Funding Formula Proposal on New Mexico School DistrictsAn Analysis of the Impacts of the AIR Funding Formula Proposal on New Mexico School Districts, a report of the Rural School and Community Trust and the Ben Lujan Leadership and Public Policy Institute, presents findings from an investigation of the impact of the funding formula proposal commissioned by the New Mexico Funding Formula Task Force (FFTF) and developed by American Institutes of Research (AIR).


Help Shape the National Rural Education Policy Agenda

Lend your perspective on important policy issues affecting rural schools, students, and communities…


Montana Court Denies Relief

Financial problems in rural Montana districts are acknowledged, but the court doesn’t order relief…


RSIN Webinar: Financing Rural Schools, December 10, 2008

Rural school finance was the topic of the second Webinar of Fall 2008. RSIN Members can listen to the audio archive or view the presentation from this event.


Home Grown Teachers

An extensive locally developed and locally funded grow-your-own-teacher program is underway in North Carolina's Bertie County, the state's poorest school system in terms of local funding.


Oklahoma Spending Likely to Go to Statewide Ballot

Voters in Oklahoma will likely vote on whether to force the state to increase spending on education...


Total Title I Funding per Eligible Child, 2008-09 School Year

Rural students receive, on average, less funding per eligible student through the federal Title I program, which is intended to provide additional educational support for very low-income and seriously at-risk students.


Arizona Court to Hear Voucher Appeal

The long fight over vouchers continues in Arizona...
Date: December 03, 2008
Related Categories: Administrator, Elected Official/Staff, Policy Maker, Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


"Placing Teachers?"

Some important insights for the appropriate training of teachers for rural schools...


Giving with One Hand, Taking Away with the Other

Schools in Pennsylvania now get state funding based, in part, on a "location cost metric" and the results aren't pretty for many rural schools...


Characteristics of a Successful High-Poverty Rural School: A Review

A discussion of a paper presented at this year's American Education Research Association that attempts to answer the question of why some rural schools do better than others...


RSFN-Extras: Colorado Funding Issues to Go Before High Court

The Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on appeal in the Lobato school funding case...
Date: November 06, 2008
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


RSFN-Extras: New Hampshire Funding Lawsuit Dismissed

The state Supreme Court has said that New Hampshire is doing enough to meet its constitutional obligations and dismissed the 17-year-old Londonderry school funding case...
Date: November 06, 2008
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Home Ownership is a Wonderful Thing: Teachers Share Their Experiences with the Arkansas Teacher Housing Assistance Program

RPM talks to four teachers who have participated in Arkansas's unique program to assist teachers in high-priority school districts with housing expenses...


Rural School Funding News: Minnesota Districts Seeking Local Funding

Rural Minnesotans vote on school funding initiatives...
Date: November 06, 2008
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region, Teacher
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding, Teacher Issues


Rural School Funding News: Georgia Governor Wants Lawsuit Participation Blocked

Georgia's governor tries to stop school districts from paying dues to coalition...
Date: November 06, 2008
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Maine's Struggle with Consolidation Law Continues

The Maine Coalition to Save Schools filed a citizen initiated petition to repeal the state's school consolidation law in October...


Economic Bailout Renews Secure Rural Schools Act

Schools in so-called forest counties will get four more years of federal funding...
Date: November 06, 2008
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


A Win for Everyone: Arkansas's Teacher Housing Incentives

Recruiting teachers is no small challenge for many rural schools especially those in communities where many people struggle economically...


2008 State Election Update: A Sampler

Several states had education issues on the ballot. We take a look at some of them...


2009 REWG: Make Your Plans

The North Carolina state Rural Education Working Group is hosting the 8th annual REWG meeting in April. Members describe why the meeting is important to them...


Missouri's Ozarks Schools Suffer Funding Disparity

Rural schools in the mountains of Missouri have less money per student than other schools in the state...


Student Loan Forgiveness Options for Teachers and Schools

Federal student loan forgiveness programs can help schools, especially low-income schools, recruit teachers...


Wyoming Attracts Montana Teachers

Montana is losing teachers to Wyoming...


Rural School Funding News: Georgia Case Withdrawn

Georgia case likely to be re-filed...


Tough Economic Times Make for Tough Decisions in Arkansas

Arkansas weighing key components of school funding...


South Dakota Lawsuit Highlights Rural Issues

South Dakota case highlights complexities for poorly-funded but high-achieving rural schools...


TEACH Grants Can Help Some Prospective Teachers

The new federal TEACH program can help students become teachers, and low-income schools should know how to use the program...


Review: Meeting the Challenge of Rural Pre-K

If your district is one of the many rural districts attempting to implement a preschool program, you are probably familiar with some of the challenges.


State Education Cuts Fall Harder on Rural Districts: A Kentucky Example

Across the country many lower-wealth rural schools are absorbing a disproportionate share of state funding cuts and feeling the downside of a commonly-used state funding mechanism intended to help them.


Working Together to Stay Small, Get More Efficient

Can the operating costs of small schools be reduced — not by making them big through consolidation — but by inter-local cooperation among small schools and districts? The Western Maine Educational Collaborative (WMEC) says so, and it’s proving it.


Rural Teacher Salaries: Big Threat to Teacher Quality

Rural teachers are paid less than suburban and urban teachers. This is true almost everywhere. It’s true at all levels of teaching experience and teacher education. And it’s an especially serious problem in lower-wealth rural districts...


Rural School Funding News: South Carolina Rural Schools Have Their Day in Court

In a dramatic and at times heated exchange, South Carolina Supreme Court justices assured lawyers for plaintiff districts that they recognize the severe discrepancies in the quality of education in poor and rural schools in the state....


New Mexico Devises Strong Funding Formula: An Analysis

A proposed school funding formula in New Mexico sends state funding where it is needed most...


New Mexico Devises Strong Funding Formula: An Analysis

A New Mexico school funding formula that was produced by a legislatively funded study committee and its consultants would increase overall state aid to schools by over 15% and, according to a new Rural School and Community Trust analysis, send the biggest increases to smaller districts serving the poorest, most rural, communities, those with large percentages of Hispanic and Native American students, and those with high proportions of English Language Learners...


Rachel's Notes: June 5, 2008

President of the Rural School and Community Trust, Rachel Tompkins posts her musings for your consideration, push back and feedback every couple of weeks.


Some Lessons from the Rural Experience in School Finance Reform

History provides some important insights about what makes funding systems work for rural schools...


Review: "Additional Learning Opportunities in Rural Communities: Needs, Successes, and Challenges"

Roy Forbes' report, “Additional Learning Opportunities in Rural Communities: Needs, Successes, and Challenges,” adds another important voice to the call for equitable resources for rural schools and their students, especially their low-income students...


State Test Scores in Kentucky Reflect Socio-Economic Status

An analysis of district level scores on Kentucky's state standardized tests produces results different from a straight ranking, and offers important insight for how low-wealth rural districts can improve...


State Updates: South Dakota

South Dakota education updates including teacher salaries, consolidation, scholarships, and more...


Title I's Small State Minimum

Federal funds distributed to schools to help educate disadvantaged children are distributed through a complicated series of formulas. One of the most political of the Title I provisions is the so-called "small state minimum"...


Education Clauses in State Constitutions

Every state has a portion of its constitution that describes the state's responsibility to provide for public education. This language is called the state's 'education clause.'


Rural School Funding News: New Education Clause Proposed in South Carolina

The ongoing effort to improve educational opportunity for all students in the state is taking a new direction in South Carolina....


RSIN Webinar: Title I Funding Formula Issues Affecting Rural Districts, March 26, 2008

Review of the current formula and its bias against small districts.


Youth-Led Poverty Reduction Project

In 2006, students in St. Helena, Louisiana worked to ensure that low-income members of their community received their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)—a provision in the federal tax code targeting people of incomes below $35,000 to offset the burden of social security taxes.


The Rural Perspective: An Analysis of the Proposed Department of Education's Budget and How It Will Impact Rural America for FY 2008

In partnership with AASA, NEA, and NAFIS, we provide an overview of how the President's proposed budget will affect rural schools and communities.


Why Rural Matters 2007: Gauge and Indicator Results

Gauge and Indicator Results from Why Rural Matters 2007, including six focus areas: Importance, Socioeconomic Challenges, Student Diversity, Policy Context, Outcomes, and Rural Education Priority.


Why Rural Matters 2007: Major Findings

Major findings from Why Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth.


Why Rural Matters 2007: Press Room

Media links and information for Why Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth.


Why Rural Matters 2007: Print Edition

Why Rural Matters 2007: Print EditionWhy Rural Matters 2007: The Realities of Rural Education Growth is a snapshot of rural education that provides essential information on the condition of rural education in the 50 states and uncovers new trends and challenges facing rural educators.


Poorest Rural Districts Poorer Than Most Cities

The 800 poorest rural districts in the U.S. enroll nearly a million students and have poverty rates higher than most cities....


Quality Teachers: Issues, Challenges, and Solutions for North Carolina's Most Overlooked Rural Communities

Quality Teachers: Issues, Challenges, and Solutions for North Carolina's Rural Communities"Quality Teachers: Issues, Challenges, and Solutions for North Carolina's Most Overlooked Rural Communities describes the challenges facing low-wealth rural school districts in eastern North Carolina as they relate to issues of teacher quality and summarizes the rural-specific strategies going on around the country to respond to these challenges. The report also covers how North Carolina is doing in each strategy, and provides additional recommendations based on the specific circumstances in North Carolina that would help address the pressing issue of providing all children in North Carolina the teachers they deserve. "


Title I Weighted Grants Skewed Toward Largest Districts: Per Pupil Funding Varies Sharply by District Size

Title I Weighted GrantsSince 2002, some of the federal funds provided to local school districts under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act have been distributed through weighted grant formulas intended to better target funding to districts with the highest concentrations of poverty. While a worthy goal, these formulas actually skew funds toward larger districts and place a greater value on the education of a Title I student in a large district than on the education of a Title I student in a smaller district — even when these districts have the same poverty rate.


Riding to School in Slow Motion

Riding to School in Slow MotionStudents who attend consolidated rural high schools face longer bus rides and are less likely to participate in extra-curricular activities because of the challenge of transportation. This is one finding in Slow Motion: Traveling by School Bus in Consolidated Districts in West Virginia. Survey results show that high school students who ride the bus and attend consolidated high schools lose an average of 49 minutes each day, compared to students who have other forms of transportation in those same districts. Though the report focuses specifically on consolidation outcomes in West Virginia, the lessons learned are a warning to any state that has pursued or is considering pursuing consolidation as an education policy.


Rural Advocate Uncovers Privatization Ploy

James Holloway, a member of the South Carolina Rural Education Grassroots Group, was initially interested in what an organization called Clergy for Educational Options said they were offering his rural community. But with some investigation he discovered that the group was really pushing private school vouchers using public money. Holloway challenged the group and learned a lot about its operations and its ties to large out-of-state privatization interests....


Rural Advocate Uncovers Privatization Ploy: Online Supplement

More information on the ties between national privatization interests and the organization Clergy for Educational Options (CEO), which is working in rural South Carolina....


The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public Schools

The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public SchoolsWhile numerous studies have documented that small schools effectively boost student achievement, especially among at-risk students, our report, The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public Schools summarizes the vast research literature that explains just why small works in schooling, identifying ten research-based attributes of small schools that are proven to have a positive impact on kids and their learning.


Why Small Schools Work: Ten Reasons Small Schools Positively Impact Students and their Learning

While numerous studies have documented that small schools effectively boost student achievement, especially among at-risk students, a new report now summarizes the vast research literature that explains just why small works in schooling.


An Investigation of School Closures Resulting from Forced District Reorganization in Arkansas

An Investigation of School Closures Resulting from Forced District Reorganization in ArkansasSome policymakers and other advocates of reorganizing Arkansas' public education system have insisted that the minimum district size requirements included in Act 60 and the district closings authorized under the Omnibus Education Act are aimed at closing school districts only, for the sake of "administrative" efficiency. They argue that the forced reorganization of districts is not intended to close schools. Some tease the issue a bit, adding that at the very least it doesn't have to happen, and in their view, probably will not happen. This analysis of the ways that reorganization has played out over the past two years strongly suggests otherwise.


New Mexico Provides Support to Rural Schools to Engage in Community Revitalization

The New Mexico Department of Education wants to improve rural education in the state by funding schools to engage their students and teachers in direct efforts to revitalize and improve the economically distressed communities the schools serve...


Small Districts — An Achievement Strategy for Iowa

Iowa's small school districts are an "achievement blessing" that should play an important role in the state's strategy to improve education and they should be "intentionally supported" in the state's school funding system, according to a new report by the Rural School and Community Trust...
Date: April 01, 2006
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding, Small Schools/School Size


North Dakota Funding Lawsuit on Hold

Nine school districts in North Dakota have agreed to stay a school funding lawsuit pending the outcome of the next legislative session...
Date: April 01, 2006
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Arizona Increases Funding for English Language Learner Programs

An Arizona bill that will increase funding for programs for English Language Learners (ELL) awaits federal district court review before becoming law...


Adequacy Plaintiffs Win Summary Judgement in New Hampshire

The plaintiff school districts in New Hampshire's current adequacy lawsuit, Londonderry School District v. State have won summary judgment before a state superior court...
Date: April 01, 2006
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Colorado Coalition Loses Funding Suit in State Court

Children's Voices, a Colorado coalition representing 14 school districts and numerous parents, lost its funding suit at the state court level when Denver District Judge Michael Martinez dismissed their case...
Date: April 01, 2006
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Rural School Funding News, School Finance/Funding


Nebraska Legislature Active as Rural Education Advocates Work

Nebraska's unicameral (one house) legislature has proposed a flurry of bills related to school finance since the Nebraska Coalition for Educational Equity and Adequacy (NCEEA) filed a school finance adequacy case in 2004...

Date: April 01, 2006
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters, State/Region
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


Compounding Challenges: Student Achievement and the Distribution of Human and Fiscal Resources in Oregon's Rural School Districts

Compounding ChallengesThis report presents findings from an investigation into relationships between academic achievement and the distribution of fiscal resources among rural school districts in Oregon. The investigation was prompted by earlier-reported findings suggesting the critical nature of both achievement gaps and resource gaps among rural school districts in the state. A variety of statistical procedures yielded consistent findings indicating that there is considerable disparity in the distribution of fiscal resources among rural districts, and that the level of fiscal resources available to districts significantly influences educational outcomes.


More Doesn't Mean Better: Larger High Schools and More Courses Do Not Boost Student Achievement in Iowa High Schools

More Doesn't Mean BetterSmall school districts are an "achievement blessing" in Iowa, according to More Doesn't Mean Better. In Iowa, consolidation proponents contend that small schools in small districts cannot offer a sufficiently broad curriculum, and that offering more courses would lead to higher achievement levels. This study finds just the opposite: Bigger schools and broader curriculum do not boost student achievement. In fact, smaller districts with fewer course offerings and higher poverty produced a slightly higher—but not statistically significant—percentage of students who scored "proficient" on state achievement tests than larger districts.


20 Strategies to Address Declining Enrollment

For those rural schools and communities across the country facing declining student enrollment, there are no easy answers. But there are steps policymakers and communities can take to help cushion the negative impact of declining enrollment on schools to ensure that "no child left behind" also means "no place left behind." 20 Strategies to Address Declining Enrollment details 20 policies that provide students in communities experiencing declining enrollment with a high quality education and also buy time for communities to rebound, improve, or adjust to changes in population and revenue.


Breaking the Fall: Cushioning the Impact of Rural Declining Enrollment

Breaking the FallFor those rural schools and communities across the country facing declining student enrollment, there are no easy answers. But there are steps policymakers and communities can take to help cushion the negative impact of declining enrollment on schools to ensure that "no child left behind" also means "no place left behind." This report details 20 policies that provide students in communities experiencing declining enrollment with a high quality education and also buy time for communities to rebound, improve, or adjust to changes in population and revenue.


Student Achievement and the Distribution of Human and Financial Resources in Mississippi School Districts

Student Achievement and the Distribution of Human and Financial Resources in Mississippi School DistrictsThis report suggests that the distribution of both school funding and qualified teachers are primary forces behind Mississippi's achievement gaps. It finds that districts with students facing the most severe challenges to high academic achievement are also the districts that have the most limited resources with which to address those challenges. Conversely, districts with students facing the fewest challenges are also the ones with the most resources.


Providing Rural Students with a High Quality Education

Providing Rural Students with a High Quality EducationThis report outlines the specifics of what the rural perspective on educational adequacy entails for policymakers, education leaders, and school finance advocates. While the report embraces the thinking behind education adequacy, it urges researchers and school funding reform advocates to begin using the phrase "high quality education," because it more aptly describes quality schooling and it will resonate better with rural people and the broader public.


Why Rural Matters 2005: The Facts About Rural Education in the 50 States

Why Rural Matters 2005Why Rural Matters 2005 is the third in a series of reports analyzing the importance of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the urgency with which policymakers in each state should address the problems of rural education.


Why Rural Matters 2005: News Conference Transcript

This transcript of the virtual news conference for Why Rural Matters 2005 features Rachel Tompkins, Ed.D., President, Rural School and Community Trust; Jerry Johnson, Ed.D., State and Regional Policy Studies Manager; and Marty Strange, Director of Policy Programs at the Rural Trust.


Why Rural Matters 2005: Print Edition

Why Rural Matters 2005: Print EditionWhy Rural Matters 2005 is the third in a series of reports analyzing the importance of rural education in each of the 50 states and calling attention to the urgency with which policymakers in each state should address the problems of rural education.


The Role of Education: Promoting the Economic and Social Vitality of Rural America

The Role of EducationThis special report issued in partnership with the USDA Economic Research Service and the Rural Trust explores the connections between rural education and local community well-being. The report includes three sections: Education, Human Capital, and the Local Economy; Links between Rural Schools and Communities; and Creating Successful Rural Schools and Students. Each section includes several articles and provides descriptive information, research data, and examples of promising programs.


Best Fiscal Management Practices for Rural Schools

Best Fiscal Management Practices for Rural SchoolsThis report highlights some of the leading policy issues faced by education stakeholders and presents rural-specific strategies to ensure both sound fiscal management practices and a high quality education for all students. To complement the report, the Rural Trust offers a workshop that can be tailored to both meet the needs of various constituencies and be responsive to context and need.


Making Bricks Without Straw: An Analysis of Achievement Patterns and Fiscal Inequity an Inadequacy in Nebraska School System

Making Bricks without StrawNebraska school systems with the lowest test scores serve more students who face socio-economic barriers to academic achievement than do other Nebraska schools, but have to do it with less money, according to this analysis.


Letters to the Next President: What We Can Do About the Real Crisis in Public Education

Letters to the Next PresidentIn the 2004 publication Letters to the Next President, more than 30 education experts, elected officials, practitioners, students, community leaders, and parents wrote to our next president, offering suggestions on improving critical problems in public education such as equitable funding resources and saving small schools.


Rural School Facilities: State Policies that Provide Students with an Environment to Promote Learning

Rural School FacilitiesEven though states nationwide spend $30 billion annually on school facilities, rural schools are frequently ignored, neglected, or under-funded--a condition that negatively impacts student learning, according to this policy report from the Rural Trust. The report chronicles the challenges faced by rural school districts to build and maintain quality schools and offers policy options for fair and effective state school facilities programs.


Teachers and Teaching Conditions in Rural Texas

Teachers and Teaching Conditions in Rural TexasThis report reveals a number of areas of significant deficiencies as it examines the characteristics of the teaching environment and the teacher corps in rural Texas schools--where almost half a million students go to school each day.


Teachers and Teaching Conditions in Rural New Mexico

Teachers and Teaching Conditions in Rural New MexicoThis report identifies 10 areas that present potential challenges for rural schools and the diverse populations in rural schools in New Mexico: 1. Challenges Related to Demographics; 2. Student Discipline Concerns; 3. Teacher Qualifications; 4. Ethnicity of Educators Compared to Students; 5. Principals' Salary; 6. Staffing Patterns; 7. Class Size; 8. Teacher Shortages and Unfilled Vacancies; 9. Professional Development and Perceived Usefulness; and 10. Incentives for Professional Development.


Rural Equity Collaborative Fights for Rural Kids in Four States

Four state organizations and the Rural School and Community Trust are entering the third year of a partnership that is making a difference for rural kids in Mississippi, Nebraska, Vermont, and West Virginia.


Achievement Distributions and Fiscal Inequalities in New Mexico Public Schools

Achievement Distributions and Fiscal Inequalities in New Mexico Public SchoolsThis report shows that New Mexico school systems suffering from low student achievement serve students who face the greatest social and economic barriers, but receive less money to work with than do other New Mexico districts.


School Size: Research Based Conclusions

School size is a critical factor in determining educational outcomes. Research links small school size with higher levels of achievement and cost effectiveness. Small size also makes other school improvements more effective. But the advantages of small schools can be undermined if they are under funded or forced to organize and operate the way larger schools do. Here is what researchers have found about school size.


Land for Granted: The Effects of Acreage Policies on Rural Schools and Communities

Land for GrantedIn many states, receiving state aid to build a new school — or renovate an existing one — is contingent on compliance with state policies that state the minimum acreage necessary for a particular type of school. This report finds that these minimum acreage requirements — imposed in 23 states — often create special problems for rural school districts. The report also explains the kinds of policies in effect in various states and outlines their impacts on small and rural school districts.


School District Consolidation in Arkansas

School District Consolidation in ArkansasIn response to an Arkansas Supreme Court order to alter the state's school funding system, Governor Mike Huckabee and others have proposed consolidating many small school districts. This report analyzes financial and academic data of all Arkansas districts and evaluates several approaches to district consolidation.


The Re-Invention of Regional Service Co-ops in Arkansas

The following is intended to be a thought-provoking, but non-prescriptive, look at the future of Regional Education Service Cooperatives in Arkansas. The decisions reached, however, must be made with the full and equal involvement of the existing co-ops, the districts they serve, and the Arkansas Department of Education.


Alternative Ways to Achieve Cost Effective Schools

There are legitimate concerns about the administrative costs of running small school districts. It has been widely assumed that the only way to reduce these costs is to achieve economies of scale by eliminating school districts through consolidation. Proposals to consolidate districts often include assurances that closing districts does not mean that schools have to close. The idea is that we can reduce administrative costs without losing the educational benefits of small schools.


The Fiscal Impacts of School Consolidation: Research Based Conclusions

Consolidation proponents often argue that consolidating schools and/or districts will lower per pupil costs. But a stream of studies over half a century casts doubts on this assumption.


Save a Penny, Lose a School: The Real Cost of Deferred Maintenance

This policy brief describes the problem of deferred maintenance for school facilities, especially from the perspective of small rural districts. It examines the extent, causes, and consequences of deferred maintenance as well as recommendations for policy, practice, and funding that can help correct this national problem.


The Competitive Disadvantage: Teacher Compensation in Rural America

The Competitive DisadvantageThe No Child Left Behind Act envisions a "highly qualified" teacher in every American classroom. It is a noble goal, to be sure, but according to this report, it is a goal that presents special challenges to already stressed rural schools struggling to recruit and retain qualified teachers. A severe teacher shortage, combined with rural teacher salaries that lag significantly behind those of urban and suburban teachers, will make it difficult to achieve the vision articulated in NCLB. The Competitive Disadvantage explores the latest data and research relevant to rural teacher compensation and suggests policy directions that can help guarantee that no rural children are left behind in the national quest for educational excellence.


Closing Costs: A Summary of an Award Winning Look at School Consolidation in West Virginia, a State Where It Has Been Tried Aggressively

Few states have pursued consolidation of rural schools more aggressively than West Virginia. With the promise of broader curriculum and huge tax savings, the state has closed more than 300 schools, one in every five, since 1990. In 2002, the Charleston Gazette investigated the outcomes of the state's consolidation efforts in the series, "Closing Costs."


Dollars and Sense: The Cost Effectiveness of Small Schools

Dollars and SenseDollars & Sense is a collaborative effort of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, the Rural School and Community Trust, and Concordia, Inc. A team of nine researchers with expertise in education, architecture, and quantitative research challenge the common belief that big schools are cheaper to build and maintain than are small ones. Their conclusion: investing tax dollars in small schools makes good economic sense.


Lowering the Overhead by Raising the Roof ...and other Rural Trust strategies to reduce the costs of your small school

Lowering the OverheadLowering the Overhead by Raising the Roof provides strategies to help communities reduce the costs of maintaining, building, and renovating small schools, author Barbara Lawrence reports on specific strategies that rural communities have used and shares what she has learned from people throughout the country.


Still "A Reasonably Equal Share": Update on Educational Equity in Vermont

This report updates the 2001 study on the impact of Vermont's Equal Educational Opportunity Act of 1997 (Act 60) using the latest available data to examine the degree to which Act 60 has improved on the three main equity goals established by the state's Supreme Court and Legislature: Student Resource Equity, Tax Burden Equity and Academic Achievement Equity. The report concludes that Act 60 continues to fulfill these mandates.


How to Analyze Your State's Education Finance System

This workbook walks you through the complex maze of information gathering and analysis needed to begin to make sense of finance systems. We recommend using the guide online to make it easier to access various sources of information.


A Reasonably Equal Share: Educational Equity in Vermont

This report finds that Vermont's Equal Educational Opportunity Act of 1997 (Act 60) has significantly improved educational equity in the state and has achieved three main goals established by the state's Supreme Court and the Legislature: student resource equity, tax burden equity, and academic achievement equity. The findings suggest that Vermont is on the right course in the way it funds its schools.


Small Schools: Why They Provide the Best Education for Low-Income Children

Small SchoolsThis report crystalizes the research of Dr. Craig Howley focusing on West Virginia.


Complying with IRS Regulations on Lobbying by Public Charities

This brochure explains the Internal Revenue Service regulations that restrict the lobbying activities of certain non-profit organizations. Nonprofit organizations can be structured in several ways. The information in this brochure applies only to nonprofit groups organized as public charities under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. People who donate to these groups receive the most generous tax deductions allowed by the IRS. Because of this benefit, significant restrictions are placed on the groups' expenditures for political purposes. This brochure explains those restrictions.
Date: July 01, 2000
Related Categories: Community Advocate, Networks/Groups
Related Tags: School Finance/Funding


Parent Participation, School Accountability & Rural Education: The Impact of KERA on Kentucky School Facilities Policy

This report discusses particular forms of parent involvement and democratic empowerment now partially restored in the state of Kentucky which have become engendered as a result of the Kentucky Educational Reform Act (KERA) of 1990, a landmark attempt to reduce inequity statewide.


Small Schools, Big Results: Nebraska High School Completion and Postsecondary Enrollment Rates by Size of School District

Small Schools, Big ResultsThis research, funded in part by the Rural Trust, finds that small schools measure up very well against their big neighbors when the cost of schooling is measured as the cost per graduate.


School Size, School Climate, and Student Performance

Excerpted from Kathleen Cotton, School Size, School Climate, and Student Performance (Portland, OR: NWREL), 1996, pp 10-11, a comprehensive review of formal research studies on school size.