School Funding and Accountability

The state’s school-funding formula, which equalizes spending between poor and rich communities, will soon be up for debate. Massachusetts ranks 19th in per-pupil funding, but only six states spend less of their total economies on education. Next spring, the Bay State becomes the ninth (11 more to come) to make passing a 10th-grade exam a requirement for graduation. Unlike 13 states, Massachusetts does not reward successful schools, but does, like 17 others, threaten sanctions for poor performance. Massachusetts just joined the 20 states that send aid to some struggling schools.

Rank State % total taxable resources spent on education, 1997 Per-pupil expenditure, 1998 (adj. for reg. cost differences)
1. Vermont 5.3% $6,746
2. West Virginia 5.1% $6,908
3. Maine 4.9% $6,739
4. Montana 4.9% $6,349
5. Michigan 4.8% $6,873
6. Indiana 4.7% $6,661
7. Wisconsin 4.6% $7,448
8. Alaska 4.5% $6,581
9. Rhode Island 4.4% $6,930
10. New Jersey 4.3% $8,801
11. Kansas 4.3% $6,311
12. Pennsylvania 4.2% $7,202
13. Idaho 4.2% $5,029
14. Minnesota 4.1% $6,767
15. Oklahoma 4.1% $5,317
16. New York 4.0% $7,853
17. Maryland 4.0% $6,544
18. South Carolina 4.0% $5,827
19. Utah 4.0% $3,804
20. Iowa 3.9% $6,823
21. Nebraska 3.9% $6,799
22. Ohio 3.9% $6,251
23. Washington 3.9% $5,995
24. Arkansas 3.9% $5,268
25. Connecticut 3.8% $7,635
26. New Mexico 3.8% $5,339
27. Texas 3.7% $5,815
28. Wyoming 3.6% $6,790
29. Oregon 3.6% $6,422
30. Kentucky 3.6% $6,196
31. North Dakota 3.6% $5,979
32. Florida 3.6% $5,829
33. Missouri 3.6% $5,817
34. Alabama 3.6% $5,356
35. Arizona 3.6% $4,629
36. New Hampshire 3.5% $6,195
37. Georgia 3.5% $5,998
38. South Dakota 3.5% $5,667
39. Mississippi 3.5% $4,924
40. Virginia 3.4% $6,215
41. Massachusetts 3.3% $6,518
42. Illinois 3.3% $5,991
43. Colorado 3.3% $5,599
44. California 3.3% $4,939
45. Louisiana 3.1% $5,989
46. Nevada 3.1% $5,478
47. North Carolina 3.0% $5,763
48. Hawaii 3.0% $5,430
49. Tennessee 2.9% $5,223
50. Delaware 2.8% $7,255
50-state average 3.85% $6,176
* Calculated by dividing the combination of a state’s local-level and state-level education revenues for 1996-97 by its gross state product for 1996.
 

Rank State Students must master 10th grade standards to graduate Report cards
*
Rewards
**
Assistance
***
Schoolwide sanctions
1. Alabama
Y
Y
N
Y
Y
2. Alaska
Y
Y
N
N
N
3. Arizona
Y
Y
N
N
N
4. Arkansas
N
Y
N
N
N
5. California
Future
Y
Y
N
Y
6. Colorado
Future
N
N
N
N
7. Connecticut
N
Y
N
Y
Y
8. Delaware
Y
Y
N
N
N
9. Florida
N
Y
Y
Y
N
10. Georgia
Y
Y
Y
N
N
11. Hawaii
N
Y
N
N
N
12. Idaho
Future
N
N
N
N
13. Illinois
N
Y
N
N
N
14. Indiana
N
Y
Y
Y
Y
15. Iowa
N
Y
N
N
N
16. Kansas
N
Y
N
Y
Y
17. Kentucky
N
Y
Y
Y
N
18. Louisiana
Future
Y
N
Y
Y
19. Maine
N
N
N
N
N
20. Maryland
Future
Y
Y
Y
Y
21. Massachusetts
Future
Y
N
Y
Y
22. Michigan
N
Y
N
Y
Y
23. Minnesota
N
Y
N
N
N
24. Mississippi
N
N
N
N
N
25. Missouri
N
Y
N
N
Y
26. Montana
N
N
N
N
N
27. Nebraska
N
N
N
N
N
28. Nevada
Y
Y
N
Y
Y
29. New Hampshire
N
Y
N
N
N
30. New Jersey
Future
Y
Y
N
N
31. New Mexico
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
32. New York
Y
Y
N
Y
Y
33. N. Carolina
N
Y
Y
Y
Y
34. N. Dakota
N
N
N
N
N
35. Ohio
Future
Y
N
N
N
36. Oklahoma
N
Y
N
Y
Y
37. Oregon
N
Y
N
Y
N
38. Pennsylvania
N
Y
Y
N
N
39. Rhode Island
N
Y
N
N
Y
40. S. Carolina
Future
N
N
N
Y
41. S. Dakota
N
Y
N
N
N
42. Tennessee
N
N
Y
N
N
43. Texas
N
Y
Y
Y
Y
44. Utah
N
N
Y
N
N
45. Vermont
N
Y
N
Y
Y
46. Virginia
Future
Y
N
Y
N
47. Washington
Future
Y
N
N
N
48. W. Virginia
N
Y
N
Y
N
49. Wisconsin
Future
Y
N
Y
N
50. Wyoming
N
Y
N
N
N
U.S. total
8
40
13
20
18
* States issue report card evaluating the performance of individual schools
** States offer monetary rewards to successful schools
*** States identify struggling schools and dispatch assistance teams to aid in improvement

Source: Quality Counts 2000, a supplement to Education Week; 50-state averages from CommonWealth calculations.