The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) on July 10 received a report from its staff on a review of Virginia’s K-12 funding formula, which previously was directed by SJR 294 from the 2021 General Assembly. Not surprisingly, the report found that public education in Virginia is underfunded, noting that local school divisions receive less K–12 funding per student than divisions in other states and several key funding benchmarks. It stated that many of the Standards of Quality (SOQ) formula inputs and assumptions lack a clear rationale and do not reflect prevailing practice in school divisions; the formula does not adequately account for higher needs students, regional labor costs, and division size; and that most states use a student-based K–12 funding formula, which is simpler than Virginia’s complex staffing-based formula. The report provided numerous recommendations and policy options, including to partially replace the SOQ formula by using student-based calculations for special education and English learner funding or to fully replace the entire staffing-based formula with a new student-based formula.
Additional information about the report is available here.