State criticized for funding deficit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 13, 2002

BNI Newswire

A Washington-based non-profit organization has listed Alabama as among the nation’s worst when it comes between the funding gap between the wealthiest school districts and the poorest ones.

The Education Trust issued a study that ranked Alabama sixth, reporting on average, students in Alabama’s poorest districts receive $991 less in spending that more affluent districts. The study was released Thursday.

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According to the rankings, only New York, Illinois, Montana, Pennsylvania and Michigan have larger gaps in their funding. New York has a spending gap of $2152 per student.

The report cites the main reason for the funding gap is the lack of local funding for poorer districts. Chilton County, for example, is projected to raise just 16 percent of its total revenue from local sources.

Local revenue sources include county sales tax and property tax. In years when the economy has suffered and consumer confidence has dwindled – sales tax revenues have been dramatically lower – creating havoc with the system’s financial well-being. One such year was last year and, with the stock market and consumer spending plummeting, some officials predict lower sales tax totals this year.

The report said that Alabama’s system of distributing money to poorer districts was among the worst in the nation, coming in 39th. To gain a copy of the report, log on to