Recent Advancements in Education Finance and Policy

Edited by:
Thomas Downes, Tufts University
Kieran M. Killeen, University of Vermont

A volume in the series: Research in Education Fiscal Policy and Practice. Editor(s): Kieran M. Killeen, University of Vermont. Thomas Downes, Tufts University.

Published 2022

The past decade has seen a steady flow of important and innovative papers documenting the short- and long-term effects of finance reforms and the heterogeneity of the effects of reforms, exemplified by papers like Jackson, Johnson, & Persico (2016), Lafortune, Rothstein, & Schanzenbach (2018), Hyman (2017), and Candelaria and Shores (2019). Those papers have reinvigorated research on the effects of finance reforms, while raising important questions about how to best design a finance system and generate necessary revenues.

The papers mentioned above, along with other papers too numerous to mention, have taken advantage of better data and better methods to address long-standing questions and generate provocative new answers. Since the landscape has changed quickly, policy makers and prospective researchers require a summary of the current state of the research on the effects of school finance reforms.
Answers are also needed to such questions as:

• To what extent are lessons from the Great Recession applicable to the Covid-19 induced crisis. For example, how will states allocate cuts in grants and will those cuts undo state progress in equalizing educational access? Are there strategies for allocating resources that best preserve student learning?

• How do financing systems need to be modified to accommodate greater use of online education?

• How should school finance systems be designed to provide equal access (or, at a minimum, adequate access) to students with special needs?

• Why is there significant heterogeneity in the results of different finance reforms?

• What have been the effects of recent state efforts to reduce the role of the property tax in financing K-12 education?

• How should finance systems be designed to more effectively close persistent achievement gaps?

• How, if at all, should states integrate the financing of preschool education with the financing of elementary and secondary education?

To help prepare the next generation of researchers and policy makers in the realm of school finance, this volume includes papers that summarize the current state of research on the questions above, as well as other pressing questions in education finance and policy.

The book aims to bridge a space between comprehensive textbooks and journal articles in the field of education finance and policy. There are two main target audiences. The book is meant to serve professionals like school district administrators and education policy practitioners that desire a contemporary update to their previous study of education finance and policy issues. These audiences often have limited access to peer reviewed journals and knowledge of pertinent government and related policy reports in the field. The book is also meant to serve students and faculty from programs in public administration, public policy, community development and applied economics, education administration, educational leadership and policy studies that are studying content related to education policy, the economics of education, state and local public finance, and taxation. Some upper-level undergraduate students may also benefit from this resource.

Introduction. SECTION I: IMPACT OF DOWNTURNS ON SCHOOL FINANCE. Federal Stimulus Aid and School Finance: Lessons from the Great Recession, J. Cameron Anglum, Kenneth Shores, and Matthew P. Steinberg. Impacts of the Great Recession on Public and Private Preschool Enrollment, Kathryn E. Gonzalez and Emily C. Hanno. Cutting Back State Aid to School Districts in the COVID Era: Consequences for Racial Funding Equity in New York State, Michah W. Rothbart. COVID‑19 and School Finance: Adjusting to Downturns and Accommodating the Costs of Online Education, Tyrone Bynoe and Thomas Downes. SECTION II: DESIGN OF SCHOOL FINANCE SYSTEMS. Effects of Reducing the Role of the Local Property Tax in Funding K–12 Education, Daphne Kenyon and Semida Munteanu. Centralization or Decentralization? The Financing of Public Primary Education in China, Xiaoyang Ye, Wei Ha, and Dongyang Chen. Weighted Student Funding and the Incentives of Charter Schools, Paul Bruno. SECTION III: SCHOOL LEVEL RESOURCE ALLOCATION. Out of Bounds: The Implications of Non-Resident Charter Attendees for North Carolina Educational Policy and Finance, Kyle Abbott, Eric Houck, and Douglas Lee Lauen. Funding Academic Disparity: Integrating Education Finance and Discipline Policy, Taylor Enoch-Stevens and Lawrence O. Picus. Disproportional Assignment: The Need for Strategic, Equity-Forward Student–Teacher Classroom Rostering, Matthew G. Springer, Peter Halpin, Jeffrey A. Springer, David A. Stuit, Lora Cohe, Chris Brooks, and Jeff M. Powell. A Double Draw of Proximity: The Importance of Geography in Teacher Application and Hiring Decisions, Kieran M. Killeen and Susanna Loeb. SECTION IV: THE ICEBERGS OF SCHOOL FINANCE. Motivational Effects and Public Funding for Special Education, Tammy Kolbe and Elizabeth Dhuey. Recent Research on Teacher Pension Funding, Benefits, and Policy Debates, Robert M. Costrell and Josh B. McGee. Teacher Pensions and Teacher Quality: Drawing on Existing Evidence to Formulate New Ideas, Maria D. Fitzpatrick. About the Contributors.