If you're thinking about transforming your funding system, take a look at Transitioning to a Weighted Student Funding Formula, a webinar hosted by Education Week today. The webinar focused on the experience of Boston Public Schools (BPS) in its first year after transitioning to the new funding formula. Under Weighed Student Funding (WSF), funds are distributed to schools based on their student population and student needs, and school leaders have flexibility in how to use those funds. Many of the ideas behind Boston's move were based on work ERS did with BPS, and we appreciate the shout out to our work. The webinar, presented by John McDonough, CFO of BPS, Seth Racine, Deputy CFO of BPS and Mary Skipper, Headmaster of Tech Boston Academy, described the rationale and process as well as the results BPS undertook in moving to Weighted Student Funding.
One of the key benefits they highlighted is the transparency of the new system. Principals as well as parents have a much clearer idea of how funds are allocated to students and schools. In addition, there is a sense of greater equity in that dollars follow students based on their needs, rather than funding specific programs or schools. According to Seth Racine, “The conversation has changed. Around the district and in public forums we now talk about students and their needs.”
Many thanks to Education Week, and in particular, moderator Christina Samuels, for hosting this informative discussion. At ERS we have worked with several districts over the past few years to make the move to Weighted Student Funding systems. For more information on ERS' work on Weighted Student Funding, read our blog titled ERS Expertise Sought on Weight Student Funding.