Authentically, management of school funds should be under strict control of legislature. Unfortunately, the allocation of school resources generates a number of problems in the Colorado states because school funding is carried out basically by local government with little control of the state government. The guidelines and roles of public school funding are monitored by districts and, therefore, the government cannot provide sufficient assistance. Due to the importance of local funding for public education, the schools tend to vary significantly because the allocation depends largely on property values established by the localities. Consequently, the given situation produces significant variances in the resources allocation in the sphere of education. Although local authority should improve both the quality and process of education, the Colorado districts fail to introduce positive changes. While following the conventional wisdom, local authority is important for financing and governing public schools. Similarly, the quality of an educational process is under their control. Therefore, the Supreme Court of Colorado should impose a constitutional duty on the state’s legislature to establish and maintain a system of free funding to public schools and justify a degree of uniformity in the allocation of school revenues.
Problems associated with funding from local government
The issue of creating a uniform education system among the districts has created mixed reactions from different people. The issue of localizing schools in terms of districts has raised issues of financing. The main problem, therefore, lies in distributing and redistributing school resources. According to the local government law, the extent of the obligation has principally been concluded in the context of financing local school systems. The educational system funding in the district has created the gap between the poor and the rich districts. The local government relies only on the revenues necessary to fund their schools only. Therefore, schools that are insufficiently funded, but are located in other districts, never receive enough resources. Consequently, poor funding affects the quality of education due to unequal distribution of funds. In order to eliminate the financial inequality, public school representatives strive to reduce the presented gap by addressing the court for legal assistance. Similarly, district legislature allows schools to present their claims in both house and courts to seek re-evaluation of constitutional duties. However, this problem of restructuring the education system in Colorado is under the question because it significantly affects school government. In this respect, there are certain weaknesses within the education system of the Colorado state that need deeper consideration.
Although the new system of resources allocation can affect schools activities, a greater number of questions are connected with the reforms introduced by proprietors, scholars, and financers. Hence, parents of individual schools elect their representatives to become the members of the boards. In the majority of cases, the local authorities levy taxes on schools and, therefore, there is a challenge of controlling the overall situation in the state. Equality and fairness during taxation can provide rational and purposeful redistribution of funds among districts with different income levels. Furthermore, the authorities have adopted long tem rules and constitutional duties, but district consolidation negatively affects the introduction of changes. In this respect, adopting a new set of responsibilities concerning funds allocation will mean the reconstruction of the existing curriculum. Consequently, public schools can face serious challenges because the introduction of new patterns of money distribution can create conflicts among the districts. Moreover, the purchase and supply of learning equipment, as well as establishment of new schools, can have a potent impact on governing the existing institutions. Therefore, a change in the education system in Colorado region presents many challenges to students, parents, school administration, and local authorities.
The growing disparities in taxable property among the identified districts determine the differences in local expenditure levels for education. In this respect, there is a necessity to introduce a local funding mechanism that would correspond to the taxpaying ability of each district. The program specifically calls for contributions made to teacher salaries, transportation costs, and operating expenses. In addition, increased gaps in incomes generate more challenges in terms of educational cooperation among the schools from different districts in Colorado.
While using the resources within the area of jurisdiction to collect taxes, the income level of the local governments varies greatly. What is more serious is that the local government law contributes to inequality within the state. Therefore, the disparity in local revenues would create conflicts among local authorities. Nevertheless, in case the geographical boundaries of different districts do not become a legal issue, a change in the education system will be carried out effectively. The government should recognize the districts power rather than focus on the local boundaries to decrease the disparity in the taxpaying abilities, as well as income levels of public schools.
The role of the judicial system
With regard to the above-presented challenges and problems, the Colorado Supreme Court has considered a number of cases to analyze what changes can be introduced to the sphere of public school funding. Rodriguez presents his views to the United States Supreme court in San Antonio. According to the case, the disparity in use of local taxes provides more benefits for high-income schools. Therefore, despite the introduction of ‘local control’ systems, children from poor schools receive insufficient academic assistance due to low level of funding. Similar to the above-presented case, Edgewood Independent School District v. Kirby is connected with public school finance, specifically with the discrimination policy in relation to poor district schools. Hence, the richest districts of Texas have much more property wealth in comparison with students from poorest districts because low-income districts significantly lack funds to provide the corresponding services. In this respect, the government should take greater control of the local authorities to introduce an equal distribution of resources among all districts.
The case under analysis creates a number of ideas and concepts to be introduced to solve the problems. In particular, the studies provided by Rebell and Wolff promote the concept that would assure “true local fiscal control of school financing by cutting the tie between the amount of money that can be raised by a locality and the amount of district wealth”. Under this concept, school financing would depend on the tax rate of each district, rather than on tax base size. The essence of district power consists in eliminating wealth-oriented perspectives from the formula of taxation and determining school district’s offering. In order to understand this approach it is necessary to consider the tables developed by legislature. The table specifies how much each pupil can spend. In such a case, the financial resources that each district can spend are specified with regard to the taxpaying ability of each school. In other words, the financial variance should be distributed among the poorest districts to eliminate the income gap. Competitively, the local authorities will fight against the redistribution because funding is created by means of tax base that they introduced. Moreover, these ideas present other challenges that are connected with low quality of education. Therefore, the amount of wealth may not necessarily influence the education, but the authorities’ motivation to promote education. Second, the relationship between the administrators and government both at a local level may disrupt the quality of education as well. Third, the school administration should attain much importance to promoting education rather than to fighting for additional financial resources. Finally, the local authorities fund many other social spheres which impose a challenge to education. The point is that the local government is reluctant share funds for education because they believe equal distribution is unfair in relation to people. The public, therefore, should be more concerned with the way money is allocated among schools. They should also be aware of the fact that equalization can contribute greatly to the overall economic growth of the state.
The power levels in districts differ. However, consolidation of public schools will force them to settle at similar levels. In particular, equal power distribution will mean equal allocation of funds in all schools in the state. In such situations, regional planning agencies are not authorized to make decisions connected to the federal funds dispensation because this decision can have a significant influence on citizens from a problematic area.
Another approach to the issue of inter-local inequity in school funding lies in imposing the responsibility on the federal government rather than on local authorities. Therefore, the U.S government should revise the funding system in Colorado to address the disparity issue. According to the complainants, the government has more funds, which can provide benefits for the school. Due to the problem of non-uniform amount tax payment, the resources distribution principle encounters a number of problems. The poor districts would have a higher level of funding at their disposal than the rich ones. Therefore, the goal of the government is to review the education policy for the benefit of all citizens. In addition, the location of resources in the districts should be controlled by the state, but not by local agencies. According to the constitution, every person has the right to access adequate education from the public institutions. In this respect, the proposed plan introduced by the Supreme Court can influence the local authorities’ abilities to regulate financial resources. Therefore, people should focus more on the implementation of the constitution and not the wealth. Due to the fact that the majority of the public schools are predominantly of “governmental” nature, the local agencies should abuse their powers and provide equal distribution of finance.
Comparison of the wealth schools and poor schools
The major part of rich districts is in located urban areas while another part, the poor one is situated in rural areas. In this respect, urbanization and industrialization are contributing factors that have contributed to spreading the wealth disparities in different states. Additionally, poor students are from the minority groups and therefore, the issue of racism and social segregation comes to the forth as well. Because the state has become more industrialized and rural-to-urban migration increases, the wealth allocation becomes more pronounced and the disparity problem has been enhanced. Distribution of commercial facilities, which are vital in revenues concentration, varies from district to district. Increased variation of taxable resources has contributed to the disparity in the revenue collection. Such a situation, therefore, has affected the education quality. Wealth districts should be responsible for increasing notable variances in local expenditures. Therefore, the need to decrease the gap in tax (funds), which correlates with disparities in local spending, is mandatory. In order to accomplish the educational needs of students from disadvantaged regions, the state has to make a decision to initiate education reforms in the problematic districts. These considerations have led to the analysis of the Texas Minimum Foundation School Program. Currently, it plays a great role in public schools funding.
This program calls for state and local contributions to fund specifically school expenditures, including transportation and salaries. The government should cater for 80% schools whereas the local districts are responsible for providing the remaining 20 % of schools with all necessary resources. As a result, schools receive state funding in relation to their taxpaying ability. In brief, the use of tax system to run social facilities can optimize an educational system and provide equal opportunities for students from both rich and poor districts.
There are evident differences in the capability of districts to raise revenues from taxable property and other commercial resources. For example, among 300,000 students, 3% are supported by the state’s regulations. On the contrary, the highest-wealth schools with similar indices support more than 25% of the state’s property. Comparison of the vast disparity shows that “the 300,000 students from rich regions/districts are likely to have higher resources to support their education than the same number of students from poor districts”. The state has tried to lessen the disparities by means of the Foundation School Program to supplement the poorer districts. Apart from the program implementation, the state attempts to ensure that each district has sufficient funding and provides its students with at least basic education. According to this program, there the state offers help to various districts by supplying property-poor districts with sufficient funding and controlling the resources allocation among the wealthy districts. However, the Foundation School Program does not cover all the above-established requirements.
Spending per student varies due to the disparity in district property wealth. This ranges from $2,112 to $19,313, though the low expenditures are not involved in the taxation system. Hence, the system should equally allocate the same amount of funds per student. In average, students from wealthy districts spend at least $ 2000 as compared to their counterparts from poor districts. In case the government takes over the financial sector of the poor districts, the quality of education will increase tremendously. Due to inferiority complex, the schools are unable to attract external funding thus they continue encounter serious financial problems.
According to the Texas constitution, “the liberal rights and education rights of all citizens are in the hands of the government”. Therefore, the quality level of public schools relies largely on legislature that should maintain all the social systems including public schools in the country. More importantly, the state government should provide a solid basis for developing a new type of local governmental organizations for establishing governance separately from inter-local cooperation. All local governments can approve such a solution because it can eliminate the possibility of conflict situations. Independent governance of local district increase the vertical control and contribute to equal allocation of funding among free public schools. Hence, the district fragmentation is a crucial step in solving the problem of severe economic and racial segregation. In particular, districts much be reunited with suburbs to reduce the social and economic gaps. The creation of metropolitan government, therefore, can be achieved through empowering urban government, absorbing the responsibilities and functions of all local governments, and abolishing all localities.
In conclusion, the Supreme Court has foreseen the disparity problem concerning control of local authorities’ activities. Students in poor districts have a limited access to knowledge due to unequal distribution of financial resources necessary for purchasing books. A teacher-student ratio in public schools is low and, this affects the quality of the education. According to the constitutional provisions, there should be efficiency achieved through the effective system of governance. Additionally, there would be no social disparities triggering conflicts. The purpose of an efficient system is to provide for equal diffusion of knowledge. Public school funding strategies should undergo significant changes to strike the balance between the tax rates and tax paying abilities. Therefore, the current crisis in the acquisition of knowledge in public schools will end when the government solves the problem with public school funding. It should be stressed that there must be a direct correlation between the district’s tax effort and the educational resources available for it. Access to revenues per pupil at similar levels of tax effort should also be balanced.
The legislative power is responsible for supporting public education and this requirement is clearly stipulated by U.S Constitution. The government can either make the local authorities carry out the assigned services competently or take over the public systems to solve the problem. Intuitively, it is the obligation of the government to establish an efficient education system. The government has the ability to control and establish resources. This is a fact that is beyond the local authority.
Besides poverty, ethnical and racial problems also create serious challenges for governing public schools. Poverty and discrimination can lead to failure of a social system to provide students with an equal access to education. Social isolation, therefore, may lead to variances in allocating the financial resources. The questions is, however, whether the quality of education depends on the amount of money spend on it or not. In fact, the newly introduced taxation program does not imply absolutely equal allocation of resources, but funding to ensure all schools with minimal conditions for learning. At this point, the assertion of Texas Minimal Foundation program can greatly contribute the creation of adequate conditions for education. The program also implies no evidence for discriminating different social status of groups from different districts. On the contrary, it focuses predominantly on the quality of education. In whole, the program acts does not support interest of any of the identified social classes.
Creation of a new type of local cooperation can solve the problems of racial and economic segregation. Hence, by expanding the local boundaries, the urban areas can capture the growth of their suburbs. In such a manner, cities can reduce suburb disparities and lessen social and racial misconceptions. Due to the fact that the main goal of regional cooperation lies in delivering high-quality public services, local government should accept the newly introduced duties to solve the problem of inadequate funding. In fact, regional arrangements are reluctant to consider programs for the purpose of sharing the problems of suburb areas. Nevertheless, the challenge can be eliminated, in case careful planning of transportation and quality management is presented.
As it has been mentioned before, the level of education quality depends on the social status the district. Regarding this, the legislature provides substantial support to communities within the state to finance public school operations. State financial resources are transferred to poor districts in order to enhance the quality of education. To enlarge on this point, during 1990-91 and 1991-92 school years, overall state expenditure per pupil in Hartford exceeded the average amount spent per pupil at the beginning of the twentieth first century. The state reimburses Hartford for its school renovation projects at a rate that is considerably higher than the reimbursement rate for the contemporary suburban towns. Thus, sufficient funding correlates positively with knowledge and quality of education in public schools.
In conclusion, though the government should take the primary responsibility for the level of education, the society should also contribute to improving the quality of school services. Additionally, the judicial system responds to ethnicity and racial segregation adequately because these aspects have a potent impact on the quality of education as well. Due to ethnicity and racial discrimination, the poor students are unable to access their constitutional rights due to the inappropriate policies introduced by local authorities. The local government restructuring can provide necessary changes to public school system. A critical view of the aforementioned issues or points clearly indicates that financial insurance of public education system should be under greater control of the state government.
MA. Rebell and JR. Wolff (2008). Moving Every child ahead: From NCLB Hype to Meaningful Education Opportunity. USA: Teachers education press, p. 10.
P. Schrag (2003). Final test: The battle for adequacy in America’s schools. New York: The New Press, p. 50
P. Schrag (2003). Final test: The battle for adequacy in America’s schools. New York: The New Press, p. 61
School District v. Rodriguez, 411, U.S. 1 (1973)
Edgewood Independent School District v. Kirby. 777 S. W. 2d 391 (1989)
L. Lefkowits (2004). School Finance: From Equity to Adequacy, p. 6
G. Frug, R. Ford, & D. Barron, (2009). Local Government Law, Cases and Materials. USA: West publishers, p. 611.
Reynolds. L. (2003). Uniformity of Taxation and the Preservation of Local Control in School Finance Reform, p. 1837.
RJ Marzano, JS. Kendall, & BB. Gaddy, B. B. (1999). Essential knowledge: The debate over what American students should know. Aurora, CO: Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory.
L. Lefkowits (2004). School Finance: From Equity to Adequacy, p. 6.