Sunday, July 20, 2008

Middle Class Obsession Revisited

Well, the maven was in too much of a hurry yesterday. I left out one more important reason why we need to attract more Richmond parents to enroll their children in our neighborhood schools. That reason is money.

As I said back in March,

The City of Richmond receives less state education payments per student than do our neighboring jurisdictions of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico. The major reason for this disparity is that Richmond has so few children enrolled in its public schools compared to its population and tax base. Thus, under the state’s “composite index of local ability-to-pay,” Richmond appears to “need” less funding per student. If our school enrollment continues to drop, as projected by RPS, we will get less and less money from the state.
You Got Trouble Folks! Right Here In River City

What the state funding formula means is that despite the fact that Richmond needs to spend more per student than our neighboring school districts because we have far more special-needs students and because the 70% of our children receiving federally subsidized meals need a lot more school services than do their middle-class counterparts in the suburbs, we are actually receiving less state education funds per student than Chesterfield, Hanover or Henrico counties. The state formula rewards the school districts that have higher student enrollment even if those jurisdictions don’t really need to spend more money per student.

There are two ways that we citizens of Richmond can deal with this grossly unfair state allocation formula. First, we must urge our state senators and delegates to change the funding formula in the General Assembly so that such need factors as number of special needs students and percentage of poverty students is included in the formula. Second, we can do what is necessary to attract to Richmond Public Schools the children in our city whose parents are considering other options for their education. Simply from the standpoint of receiving adequate education funding from the state, we cannot afford to allow any more of our parents to opt out of Richmond Public Schools.


Bookstore Piet said...

The question is.... Who will go first? My son is starting school this year and we are sending him to Luther. His school was to be Norrell (before it became a Battery Park flood victim) but we had concerns. We were told he would be the only white kid. Sadly, that greatly concerned us and was one of the drivers of us selecting a private school. The other driver was friends who volunteer at the school. The message we were getting was that if he wasn't a problem or at-risk student he wouldn't be a priority and may fall by the wayside. What to do?...

gray said...

To attract the educated poor to wealthy classes into RPS, we should start at the top and make sure that our elected officials can write in proper English and respond to their constituents. Check out comment numbers 194 through 197 here .