Our own Paul DeMarco is a member of the Equity Funding committee of Jim Rex‘s transition team. He wants our help. He’s looking for ideas — not arguments, not recriminations, but specific, practical ideas for how we should fund education going forward.
This is our chance to make a contribution to South Carolina, and along the way transform this blog into something more than a place to blow off hot air. To quote Elliott Ness in the movie, "let’s do some good." Here’s Paul’s request:
The Rex transition team Equitable Funding Committee is considering three basic questions:
1) How do you define an adequate education?
(actually the state supreme court set "minimally adequate" as the
benchmark, but let’s shoot a little higher). Only by defining what an
adequate education is can we address what an adequate funding level is.
2) What is the best way to collect money for education? HR 4449
passed in the last session shifted some of the burden from property tax
to sales tax. Is this wise? Are there other funding mechanisms the
state should consider?
3) What is the best way to distribute the dollars collected to fund
education? Is the current system in which funding varies widely from
district to district based on the tax base the best one? Some states
(i.e. Vermont) put all their education dollars in one pot and then
divides it so that every student receives the same amount of state
funding. Would a system like Vermont’s be better than what we have?
What I’m hoping for is ideas rather than commentary. Concentrate on
looking forward rather than into the past. One of our members said that
our committee would have to "give up all hope on creating a better
I don’t expect you to research your answers, but be as specific as
you can in the solutions you propose. If it’s a good idea, the
committee will research it for you.
So the focus is on adequacy, collection and distribution. Comment on
any or all. Also, there are four other committees 1) Choice (sorry,
Karen Floyd fans, but I suspect that’s primarily public school choice)
2) Innovation 3) Accountability (the focus is on PACT testing)
4)Teachers. If you have any great ideas for Rex in these areas I will pass them along.
Thanks for your help.