Oregon distributes funding for schools approximately equally across the state. It is the same amount per student no matter where you are. There are some modifications for some high cost students, small high schools, poverty, but it is very close to equal (ORS 327.008). If costs are the same across the state -- class size would be the same.
The problem is costs are not same. Salary costs are not the same. Kids in higher poverty, high cost, areas like Parkrose have larger class sizes than elsewhere in the state. Equal funding allocation across the state does not mean equal treatment for kids.
What if we altered the funding formula, just slightly, to take into account a fraction of these salary differences and treat kids more equally across the state?
Why is this better?
- It is called a cost sharing contract and we already use it for school transportation funding.
- Hard to argue against cost sharing when we already use it for part of school funding.
- It will not give you identical class sizes, but it does tilt the balance toward equality.
How is this worse?
- There are slightly lessened incentives to control costs.
What other Changes are needed?
- More stable insurance costs.
- More stable retirement costs.
- More stable funding.