Fun With Funding
Alaska public school districts use a combination of state funds, local sources such as property taxes (and in some cases income taxes) and federal funds. The amount of state funds that a district receives is based on a formula that takes into account the student enrollment and the property wealth of the district. This blog was created to give information and clarification on just how Hoonah city School receives the funds it needs to operate.

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p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 13.0px} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} span.s2 {text-decoration: underline ; font-kerning: none} Now that we have a pretty good idea of where the money comes from we need to understand where it goes. I’m sure that many of you ask that question all the time, just where does my money go? It helps to add transparency to school operation if people have an understanding of school finance. As described in the post where does the money come from?  it was explained where the district money comes form. A portion comes from the state through the funding formula, a portion comes form the city through the local contribution, and a portion comes from federal grant funds. There are specific rules tied to the monies that are received by the district. Money received from federal title grants can only be used for allocated purposes the same way money allocated for special education can only be used for special education purposes. That scenario alone causes school business managers to stay up at night.  In Hoonah our funds are distributed among different operational areas. Within these areas is a more detailed breakdown of the categories. For example under regular instruction that is where the funds for textbooks would come from. Certified teacher salaries would come from there as well.  The six categories in the Hoonah City Budget are: Regular instruction, Special education, Building operations and maintenance, Food service, Board of Education, and support service and technology. The breakdown of the Hoonah City School budget by category is conveyed in the accompanying chart. The allocation of the monies in the Hoonah City School budget is similar in districts across Alaska. The bulk of the monies received go towards instruction. The district administration strives to be transparent in how the funds entrusted to them are used. The school budget is a public document and can be found on our district website or can be requested from our district office.
Posted by ralph.watkins  On Dec 16, 2017 at 1:05 PM 164 Comments
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 13.0px} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 13.0px} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} Funding Formula  I was asked the other day, why the school in Hoonah no longer has a music program or shop classes? I replied as I often do, “We don't have the money to pay for those positions.” That usually stops the conversation because everyone knows you can only work with the monies you have. This time was different. This person wanted to know why other districts like Juneau or Mt. Edgecumbe can offer programs that we can't offer here in Hoonah. It made me realize that providing the community with information on how our school is funded might be a worthwhile undertaking. Before I begin, let me start by saying, that the Foundation Funding Formula is complicated. There is a host of abbreviations, numbers and multipliers that can make even the most math inclined mind go numb. The thing to remember is the purpose of the formula is to make sure that all of the schools in the state get their basic needs met. You can probably imagine, that in a state like Alaska, the basic need for Hoonah is much different for Juneau. The way the Foundation Formula addresses this is by identifying six cost factors that have an impact on schools and factoring them into the calculations. So, let’s start by gaining a better understanding of the six cost factors and why the formula uses them. One of the obvious difference between schools in Alaska, are the number of students enrolled and attending each school. To illustrate the wide range of school sizes, Hoonah currently has 119 students while Pelican has 12. Student count is the first step in the Foundation Formula. Think about it. If the number of students was the only factor considered in funding then small schools like Pelican would poorly fair under the formula. That is why the formula has a school size adjustment. Simply put, the state has a multiplier in the formula it uses to adjust for school size. This addition to the formula is designed to help small schools. For example, a school of 15 students when the multiplier is applied would have their enrollment adjusted to the size of 39.6 students. This is called the Adjusted Daily Membership (ADM), or number of students. Just as school sizes differ, so do school districts, and the cost to operate varies greatly. The formula has a calculation to adjust for the varying conditions each district has to operate under. This is called the District Cost Factor. This cost factor or multiplier used in the district cost factor ranges from 1.0-2.116. The lowest being assigned to Anchorage, and the highest being assigned to Yukon Flats. Hoonah’s district cost factor is 1.399. This District cost factor is multiplied by the adjusted size of the district. Those two adjustments are critical elements of the formula designed to equalize distribution of the funds to provide adequate funding for schools based on their enrollment and other district factors.  The state has also included a multiplier of 1.015 in the formula to help with funding vocational and technical education programs. With the understanding that it requires more resources to provide services for students with special needs, the Foundation Formula adjusts for this cost by multiplying any student identified as intensive by 13 ADM with the total being added to the schools adjusted size. This additional intensive funding is for students identified as intensive only. The special needs factor for students who are eligible for special needs services, adds 20% to a district’s ADM for block funding of Special Education. Remember that this does not include intensive, bilingual or gifted and talented students. The last piece to the funding formula is for students in correspondence programs. The district would count 90% of each student in the program. For example, if a district had 10 students in correspondence school that district would receive funding for 9 or 90% of the total enrollment. Hoonah currently is not set up for correspondence services.  So, now that we have a little better view of the Foundation Formula elements. Now, what does that mean for Hoonah? Let’s take a look. Here is how state funding was appropriated for HCS in SY 2017… We had 106 enrolled students divided into two schools, 66 in elementary and 40 in high school. Because we were divided into two schools we used the multiplier of 1.86.  (66 x 1.86) + (40x1.86) which equaled a projected school size of 198. Next the 198 is multiplied by the district cost factor of 1.399 for an adjusted school size of 277. (198 x 1.399= 277) Next, the 277 students are multiplied by the special needs factor of 1.20 for an adjusted size of 332. (277 x 1.20 = 332). The next factor to be entered into the formula is the vocational and technical adjustment. That multiplier is 1.015. So now we take the 332 and multiply it by the 1.015 cost factor (332 x 1.015 = 337). So now, our adjusted enrollment is 337 students. HCS had 5 intensive students for an adjusted about of 91. (5 x 13 = 65) Those 65 students are added to the 337 for an adjusted count of 402 students. The final cost factor is for correspondence students. HCS has no correspondence students. That leaves us at an adjusted student count of 402 students. That final number is then multiple by the Base Student Allocation (BSA), for a total state funding amount of 402 x 5,930 = $2,383,860. (This total may be slightly off). While this may seem like a lot of money we currently face a deficit in the funding needed to operate in the black which begs the question, where does the money go?  
Posted by ralph.watkins  On Oct 10, 2017 at 4:16 PM 152 Comments
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 13.0px} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 13.0px} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} School Revenue…Where does the money come from?  My kids will sometimes come and ask me for money. It never ceases to amaze me, how quickly I turn into my father. I'm quick to reply, "Do you think I am made out of money?" or, "Money doesn't grow on trees." As kids, we often see our parents as a source of wealth with unlimited resources. That couldn't be farther from the truth. As an adult and parent, I know first-hand how untrue that childhood belief really is. When we don't see how the money is earned or where it comes from as children, we assume that there is an endless supply of it. Namely, because we always seem to have what we need. It's funny, but sometimes thoughts we had as a child creep into our adult views on matters of money. As a Superintendent, I often get asked why programs that we had in previous years are no longer offered. When I reply, “Because of a lack of funding,” people are truly shocked and dumbfounded. What do you mean there is no money, you're the school, you have endless supplies of money? Nothing could be further from the truth. Just where does the money to operate HCS come from? School Revenue Sources The responsibility for K-12 education rests with the states under the Constitution. There is also a compelling national interest in the quality of the nation's public schools. Therefore, the federal government, through the legislative process, provides assistance to the states and schools in an effort to supplement, not supplant, state support. The primary source of federal K-12 support began in 1965 with the enactment of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  Annual Secondary Education Expenditures per Student ESEA authorizes grants for elementary and secondary school programs for children of low-income families; school library resources, textbooks and other instructional materials; supplemental education centers and services; strengthening state education agencies; education research; and professional development for teachers. State aid equals basic need minus a required local contribution and 90 percent of eligible federal impact aid for that fiscal year; basic need equals the sum obtained under (D) of this paragraph, multiplied by the base student allocation set out in AS 14.17.470; district adjusted ADM is calculated as follows: Most Federal funding is distributed either directly to local districts or to schools and districts through their states. Individual schools would then use these funds for the purposes defined in the programs. Major programs include: ESEA, Title I, Part A IDEA, Part B, Grants to States American Indian, Alaska Native Career/Tech Voc/Rehab Services programs and grants. Improving Teacher Quality: $2.9 billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers English Language Learners Impact Aid (schools impacted by military bases and other facilities) Local Public-School funding consists of state aid, a required local contribution, and eligible federal impact aid.  Grants such as Title IV Grants for Innovative Program Strategies.   
Posted by ralph.watkins  On Oct 10, 2017 at 4:12 PM 80 Comments
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