- Report Published -
|Review of Elementary and Secondary School Funding: Interim Status Report|
|Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission|
|In May 2000, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) directed staff to commence a review of funding for elementary and secondary education in Virginia's public schools. Under Virginia's Constitution, the General Assembly has responsibility for providing a system of free public elementary and secondary schools, seeking to ensure that an educational program of high quality is established and maintained, and determining the manner in which funds are to be provided to meet state Standards of Quality (SOQ), including apportioning the costs between the State and local governments. The General Assembly, therefore, has a clear reason for continual concern as to the adequacy and appropriateness of public elementary and secondary education funding.|
The planned JLARC review will address the cost and funding of the State's existing standards. However, the focus of the review will be on local expenditures for services that go beyond the SOQ. The study will examine the amounts that are spent above current SOQ cost levels within several cost categories, and will examine the purposes of those expenditures. While the greatest emphasis of the analytical work will be on elementary and secondary school operating costs, debt service and capital costs will be included in the review, as well as an assessment of certain issues applicable to determining local shares of the funding responsibility (for example, local ability to pay).
JLARC staff will brief the study findings in August 2001. The final report is expected to include funding options that the General Assembly may wish to consider if it wishes to increase the level of State support for public education funding. The report will also assess some of the advantages and disadvantages of these funding options.
The current report is an interim status report. It has three parts. First, it provides some background information to explain the context for the review. Second, study issues are described. This part of the interim report states the broad conceptual issues, as well as the major categories of concern that were raised by school division and local government officials and other participants at eight regional input sessions conducted by JLARC staff. Finally, a JLARC staff survey of school divisions, and other research activities for the review that will be pursued during 2001, are discussed. Since JLARC staff are currently engaged in the data collection process for the study, the interim report does not include substantive findings.