Public Education Financing Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 16 February 2017

Public Education Financing

In the present modern economics, public education financing is considered as one of the flourishing characteristics for the economy of any country. However, a wide variation has been observed in the financing practices related to the public education in the United States, as well as, across different parts of the globe. In this regard, differences and diversification can be observed in various economical activities that are considered especially for the public education system of a country. (Cubberley, 1916) For instance, the American educational system may also provide huge differences in terms of distribution and expenditures across the country. However, significant and noteworthy alterations have been observed in the public educational system of the United States. Over the last few years, the abovementioned theme has been a major concern of public debate at all levels. (National Association of Secondary School Principals, 1972)

During the last few years, in order to get maximum funds for pubic education, different states of the US have made significant changes in public education funding system. In this regard, various experts believe that little analysis of the subject has been done in the past, and more considerations should be provided to the subject, which has an influencing effect on the education system of every country. (Rice, 1893)

One of the biggest sources of public education financing is national funding system, as community wide funding system is implemented for the financing of educational activities across the country. In this regard, most of the public education financial expenses are funded at national level. In this funding system, all nationals of a country bear a substantial tax rates on income for pubic education financing. (Fitch, 1904) The important thing in this funding is that all the tax collected from individuals are funded and distributed equally among all the students, which is one of the major characteristics of a public education financing system. (Jordan, 1992)

At community level, public education financing occurs at a certain community level and students receive sponsorship according to their requirements. Moreover, at community level education funding system, parents of the students support all the costs of their children’s education, which is same as private education funding.

Nonetheless, at community level funding system, funding for public education is collected on behalf of communities and sorted randomly into communities contrary to perfect sorting. In this system, all contributors of the public education finance contribute same tax rate fixed by their community. Certainly, at community level, public education financing contributes a small share in overall education expenses, and this thing does not have a great impact on wide economic variable elements, such as social security benefits, etc. (National Association of Secondary School Principals, 1972)

However, according to one of the experts in education, a rapid concern in the development sector has been observed in recent years, and a vital role has been played by the federal government. One of the reasons of expression of this concern is that more diversification has been observed in the capabilities of funding by the state governments. Moreover, steady increment has been observed in the mobility of these states. Lastly, the federal government has observed an important change in its perspective regarding the public education, and social welfare of the people has been given due importance during the recent years.

On all the aforementioned public education-financing categories, finance education schedule is selected by agents through voting, which is carried out by either the community or federal government. It has been observed that balancing of the educational budget is performed by the provision of different taxation options to the voters by the government, and similar funding is provided according to the taxation level selected by the voters. However, it has been observed that young generation has not been given due significance by disallowing them from the voting, and education can be supported by only the voters who face the political decision.

 The level of taxation is represented by a tax rate and the tax is levied on capital and labor income of all agents residing in the relevant area. When setting up the tax schedule, policy makers care only about being elected, and so they maximize the number of votes. As a result, any party in office will follow the same policy and that policy is the one that is voted for by the greatest number of agents. (Garber, 1964)

During the period 2001-2002, the US spent approximately four hundred and twelve billion dollars in both elementary, as well as, secondary levels of the public education system. This budget on public education was spent with a view to declaring it the biggest single field of direct public expenditures, even beyond the national defense figures. Approximately, in the educational ground, this fund benefited around forty seven million public school students and five million of private schools. (Ana, 2004)

Interestingly, per student expenditure during that period was $8,685 yearly. It has been noted by most of the experts that aforementioned budget was collected from federal, state and local sources. However, the amount spent during the year 2001-2002 on public education finance was varied form one state to another. In this regard, Connecticut was the state, which got the highest per student education funding fund, and Utah got the lowest fund for public education.

In the United States, the state and the local government are responsible for public education funds. In the fiscal year of 1999, forty-nine percent of the funds for public education financing came from state appropriations in which, forty-four percent came from domestic revenue and the US federal government contributed seven percent funds for public education financing. In this regard, domestic government raised funds for education mainly through property taxes. On the other hand, for public education financing state rely on numerous funding sources such as corporate & personal income taxes, sales & excise taxes. However, public education financing from the US federal government remained constant if compare to past figures. (Jordan, 1992)

            Historically, with the passage of time, a constant rise has been observed in school funding from the perspective of states. In this regard, the state contributed thirty percent in 1940, which was raised by 40 and forty-nine percent in the year 1970, as well as, 1999 respectively. However, figures of each state observed substantial variations by one another.

Throughout the history of public education funding, funding sources of each state varied from others, and most importantly, the tax rates such as personal and property tax rates were varied according to states. In this context, Hawaii’s funds for education mainly came from state sources, and New Mexico public education funds came from both state and domestic sources. In this regard, it has been believed by Richard W and Lindholm that the provision of education as a local responsibility has been closely related with the imposition of property tax as a local tax in the United States.

Every year, all the states contribute hundreds of billions of dollars on education financing. In order to distribute collected funds among different territories, states have designed some ground elements that differentiate territories from one another, as well as, estimate the affect of those differences on the cost of furnishing educational services, and distribute funding consequently. Besides all the factors discussed above, territory wealth in school funding is one of the most important elements that distinguish one territory to another. In this context, it has been believed by some of the experts in education, such as Torres and Puiggros that overall capability for the maintenance of students, as well as, the promotion of higher education has been improved and enhanced by the public schools, in addition to increasing the equality of educational opportunities.

Actually, some territories are wealthy as compare to others. In this regard, states have designed a number of fundamental funding systems that evaluate the estimation of school territories funding levels and distribute it in keeping different grounds, such as domestic differences of wealth element. Although, different states have designed different public education funding system, but one can found many similarities in school funding structure system.

Under the flat grant approach, in spite of domestic particular context, every territory gets the same flat grant for each student entered in any educational institute. Obviously, in this public education funding system it ponders that the state must assure a minimal level of funding for all educatees and then gives domestic territory liberty to increase funding beyond that level as they think fit for it. During the period of 1960s and 1970s, the power equalization funding approach arose out of the work of education crusaders; actually, they were the people who observed the huge deviations among different territories in the ability to lift domestic funds ensued in education funding inequalities. (Ana, 2004)

The solution was to assure all territories a standard amount of fund for each educatee for each unit of taxation. For instance, every state is liable to determine that all school territories must be able to increase hundred dollars on each student, per mill of property tax rate. In any case, where school territory’s tax base does not able to rise forty dollar per student, in this case, the state will fulfill territory’s education funds demand of equal to difference between 100 and 40, or sixty dollar per student, per mill. (Garber, 1964)

However, all districts which are considered as wealthier districts and whose tax base rate rises seventy dollars per students, per mill, will only get thirty dollars per student, per mill from the state. “In this way, the state “levels the playing field” for school districts in terms of the ability to raise revenue, ensuring that funding disparities are a result of differences in taxpayer preferences, not taxpayer wealth.” Undoubtedly, this approach shows the responsibility that all states all responsible for education funding according to their wealth and resources.

The funding approach of foundation plans is presently use in almost forty states. This approach integrates components of the former described two approaches. Nonetheless, every state furnishes the deviation between the totals of revenue-raised form the domestic tax and the foundation funding level.

            For instance, a state can found a foundation funding level of six thousand for each student. However, in a territory having one thousand students this will reflects a total funding of six million dollars. In this regard, if the state calculates a minimal domestic tax rate of two hundred mills increased two million in domestic property taxes, the states will have to furnish an extra fund, which will equal to the deviation between two million and six million. (Richter, 1986)

In this approach, if employing the two hundred-mill lower limit tax rate in a wealthier territory with the same number of educatees increased five million, in this situation, the state is bound to furnish only one million in state’s education funds. In this regard, both territories ends up with the similar domestic tax rate and the similar combined state and domestic funding point for each student, though the proportional weight of those 2 sources is different to a great extent.

It can be evaluated that this approach is designed to extenuate inequalities in domestic wealth. However, it takes the idea of equality in further steps; in this approach, typically, both outcome and opportunity are taken into consideration and rates are determined with respect of varying degrees of different states. (Williams, 1980)

This foundation plan has designed to keep in mind that the domestic school territories must not enjoy limitless prudence while setting funding levels that are intolerably different from other states norms.

The full state-funding plan is practically an uncommon approach for funding public education funds, in this approach of public education funding; the state is responsible for all education expenses. Hawaii is completely fit for this example; Hawaii within a single school territory combines full state funding. In suggesting or deciding public education funding policies, Hawaii is capable to eliminate, any deviations occur between domestic and state governance. Interestingly, in this public education funding system, domestic authorities have no control over levels of funding. (Ana, 2004)

All the four aforementioned public education-funding categories show only the fundamental structure of public education funding plans. Nevertheless, in order to collect funds for public education most of the states use schemes that joint components of some or all of these funding plans. For instance, a state may distribute some funds through a flat grant education funding approach, or other may apply foundation plan to collect public education funding. In lieu, a state has an authority to give territories permit to raise tax rates in order to collect maximum funds for public education.

It can be analyzed that the prime motive behind the public education funding is to get maximum funds, which can be used, effectively in public education. According to some public education funding reformers, public education funds schemes is just a technique to give equality among taxpayers at all levels such as property and other tax burdens.

Domestic property taxes such as sales and income taxes are some of the main sources of California’s pubic education funds. In addition, these collection sources are supplemented with money from the California’s state lottery, federal government and other sundry public education funds collected domestically by school territories.

The following diagram represents that how the public education funds were collected in California during the period of 2002-2003.

K-12 Funding Comes From Five Sources (Ana, 2004)

State Aid

State aid collected mostly from California’s sales and income taxes.

Property Taxes

During the period of 2005-2006, property taxes were collected domestically and distributed to all schools through a formula determined by state.

 Federal Aid

Federal aid was appropriated for some especial purposes such as special children’s education, child nutrition programmes, child left behind programmes and so forth.

Domestic Miscellaneous

            Domestic miscellaneous funds included, interest income, revenue generated from domestic parcel tax elections, communality contributions and so on.


California state lottery funds were collected on behalf of public education funds on per student basis.

Proposition 98

Proposition 98, the provisions of a voter initiative, this law define the responsibility of each state, under this rule every state is bound to contribute in K-12 community and education colleges. This public education funding contains both domestic property tax revenues and state monies. As far as amount of guarantee is concerned, it is determined by using a set of formulas dictated by law.

Since the year 1988, one of the most crucial factors for the determination of amount of revenue received by the public schools is the calculation of the minimum guarantee, because of the passage of Proposition 98. In addition, proposition ninety-eight insures a minimal level of funding for public education.

Proposition ninety-eight funds represents about eight dollar out of every ten dollar apportioned to K-12 education in California. As mentioned above, California’s public education funds, other sources include domestic sundry resources, federal government, and lottery, which shared twenty percent in Public education funds.  (Williams, 1980)

Legally speaking, a minimum of thirty-four of the receipts from the California state lottery should have to be allocated to public educational institutes. Moreover, the apportioned money for each student basis, should have to be used only for instructional uses and not for research and development (R&D) purposes. In the year 2000, Proposition 20 was approved and accepted by the voters, which required that instructional materials should be considered and given due importance by half of any increment in the share of revenue collected from the lottery for the education. For the year 2005, as well as, 2006, approximately $146 per pupil was received by the districts from the above-mentioned source, from which, instructional materials were bought by roughly $25 from the total amount per student.

The domestic sundry category of funds per annum shows about six percent of entire revenue collected for K-12 schools. Moreover, this public education funding was separate from domestic tax incomes the state control. It came from the sources that were domestically administered, that income generated from cafeteria sales, income from lease, income from sale of territory property and so forth.

Interestingly, for less than twenty percent territory in the state, a significant source of domestic sundry income was the voter-approved domestic parcel taxes. In reality, these were some of the special types of property taxes, which were not related to the value of property. Nonetheless, according to some of the experts, one of the most important policies on the domestic level is the education system in the United States. The implementation of American ideology in the lives of American people is represented by the education system of the country, and due significance should be provided in this regard, which has been given in the past, and must be given in the coming years. (Hutchins, 1961)

In the United States, both government and public are expecting a lot from educational institutions like school and colleges. In the past, educational institutes were being gainsaid to fit the demand of a country’s economy that is increasingly oriented towards knowledge in all respects and information skills. (Hutchins, 1961) At both federal and state level, present American legislative has made some changes in educational funding system and have created some new systems that will test educational institutes’ teachers’ and students’ performance. In the light of present ongoing changes in public education financing system, many experts have already said that these ongoing policies will advance education level.

Conclusively, the paper has tried to study different aspects and perspectives of public education system across the world, and specifically, in the United States. It was noted during the paper that during the last few years, in order to get maximum funds for pubic education, different states of the US have made significant changes in public education funding system. Every year, all the states contribute hundreds of billions of dollars on education financing. Moreover, various features of the government financing on the federal, state, as well as, community level were discussed in the paper. Lastly, different characteristics related to the funding of the education system in the country were studied and evaluated during the paper, which will support the better understanding of its funding by the students, experts, and policy makers in the future.


            Kenneth Forbis Jordan. (1992). Financing Public Education in an Era of Change. Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation.

            National Association of Secondary School Principals. (1972). Financing Public Education. National Association of Secondary School Principals.

            Lee Orville Garber. (1964). The Law Governing the Financing of Public Education. Interstate Printers and Publishers.

            Mary Frase Williams. (1980). The Public School and Finances. Pilgrim Press.

            Clayton Darius Hutchins. (1961). Trends in Financing Public Education, 1929-30 to 1959-60. U.S. Department of Health Education.

            Otto Santa Ana. (2004). Tongue-Tied. Rowman & Littlefield.

            Ellwood Patterson Cubberley. (1916). Public School Administration. Houghton Mifflin Co.

            Charles Elliot Fitch. (1904). the Public School. J. B. Lyon Company Printers.

            Joseph Mayer Rice. (1893). the Public-School System of the United States. The Century Co.

            Albert J. Richter. (1986). the Impact of the Rural Recession on Public School Financing and Programs. NEW Professional Library.

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