Letter: School funding formula needs overhaul
The General Assembly of Virginia has known for decades that the formula to determine the Composite Index for school funding is obsolete. The need to utilize a more modern system may be the right time for the next session in January 2011. This is not a complex issue if politics is removed and a business initiative is put in place.
The need to cut budgets annually could be drastically reduced if the current Composite was utilized as a benchmark to set responsible funding from the state. Take, for instance, all those divisions with a Composite with a 70 percentile or above which are to fully fund themselves without state assistance. This will involve about 13 divisions (eight counties and five cities) out of 135 divisions.
All remaining divisions within the state will be funded totally by the state in the following categories including benefits, instruction, administration, attendance, health and technology. All other categories will be funded locally by the taxpayer with local funds. Central food services is self-sustaining and should remain the same.
This level of funding will quickly define where the line needs to be drawn as to logical and sustainable costs for elementary and secondary state-supported education. Debt and the operation and maintenance of these assets paid totally by the locality, along with all transportation costs will re-identify the actual funds required to produce a measurable quality product that is a benefit to the community.
Gloucester Point, Va.