AEA’s lobby team was back at the State Capitol this week for continued legislative hearings to review and recommend school funding levels. The Monday and Tuesday meetings included a look at how schools are funded, and how districts are spending the money they receive.

Bureau of Legislative Research officials told lawmakers the bulk of school funding is provided by the state’s “foundation funding.” The amount each school receives is calculated using a matrix that assumes a school has 500 students to achieve efficiency, but the majority of Arkansas schools fall below this number.

BLR also said different spending patterns occur between different types of schools, and the size of the district is a big factor. That spending matters, especially when targeting high poverty schools and improving instruction. Successful schools seem to invest more in human capital and instruction-related resources. In school districts with waivers, spending is often less, they said.

This hearing is part of an 18 month long process where lawmakers study various aspects of public education to determine how to adequately resource public education in Arkansas. AEA attends each of these meetings and offers testimony to lawmakers to inform the final recommendations. The next meeting in this series of hearings will take place at the State Capitol on  March 7th and 8th.