A rough outline of a new funding formula for our schools has emerged from the Joint Legislative Committee on Education. First, a new state minimum: Nearly $6,300 per pupil, calculated by determining what the 113 top performing school districts in the state spend. Senator Charlie Shields of St. Joseph, the Committee Chairman, says that minimum could be tweaked a bit. More work also will be done on the two other main factors to a proposed new formula: An adjustment to account for variance in the cost-of-living in different parts of the state and additional state aid for districts with higher numbers of poor children, children needing special ed and immigrants. Shields expects a new formula to cost between $400-Million and $600-Million more than the current one. He suggests a phase in time of three to five years. The committee will be provided with more refined numbers next week.
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