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Let’s Talk Tuition - State Funding

Zizzer Community,

In the most recent edition of Let’s Talk Tuition, local funding, one of the major funding sources for public education, was discussed. In the following two issues, state funding will be addressed. To set the stage to explain how state funding is calculated, various definitions will be given below. 

The state funds public schools based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA). ADA is the total regular term (semester) hours of attendance (including remedial hours) divided by the calendar hours in the school year. Summer school ADA is also calculated and added to the total.

This attendance number is then weighted or multiplied by a factor if a district has a higher concentration of student subgroups. The three subgroups consist of special education, low-income, and limited English language proficiency. This calculation is Weighted Average Daily Attendance or WADA. Districts only receive this extra state funding if the subgroups meet a state threshold. For example, the West Plains School District does not receive additional state funding for students that fall into the limited English language proficiency category due to the low number of students that speak English as a second language.

The state funding formula is designed to ensure the students’ basic learning needs are met and the funding is equitable from one district to another. The State Adequacy Target drives the state funding. The state adequacy target is set each year by noting the amount top districts in the state spend on operating expenses to educate their students. The current state adequacy target is set at $6,375.

In an effort to adjust for an area’s cost of living, a Dollar Value Modifier is used. There is a baseline for the state, but the dollar value modifier for the district is currently 1.001.

Another area that is taken into account under the state funding is Local Effort. The state looks at how much local funding each district can generate through property taxes. The more money a district receives in property taxes, the less aid a district will receive from the state. Unfortunately, the local effort amount is currently frozen based on a district’s property tax amount in 2005.

Another factor that plays a significant role for some districts is a Hold Harmless provision in the state formula that prevents some schools from receiving less funding than they did during the 2005-2006 school year. Many of these districts are small or located in low-income areas.

In the next edition of Let’s Talk Tuition, the district will give an example of state funding. Thank you for your continued support, and should you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me by calling 256-6155.


Dr. Lori Wilson
Superintendent of Schools
West Plains School District