At Norman's Restaurant
Analysis and opinions are my own and do not reflect positions of the East Greenwich School Committee in any way
The chart at the right shows the percentage change over the FY2022 formula aid by district for the Governer's Recommended Aid.
The supporting documentation suggests that while the formula aid was computed in accordance with Rhode Island law and in the same manner as in previous years, the end result was deemed unacceptable because the majority of districts received less formula aid than they did in FY2022 (significantly less in some cases), and two districts generally perceived to be the wealthiest received significant increases (Barrington 23%, East Greenwich 20%).
The justification for rejecting the original recommendations was that the results were not consistent with the intent of RIGL-16-7.2-4 which creates an expectation that communities able to generate enough revenue to support their local public schools should do so.
For FY2023, formula aid is a percentage of $11,050 times the number of enrolled students, plus an additional $4,420 for each student qualifying for free or reduced lunch support. So the formula aid is quite sensitive to changes in enrollment, and one of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was a drop in enrollment in most districts, often by hundreds of students. This was not evenly spread across districts.
By law the percentage is computed as the 'quadratic mean' of two percentages: The percent of students in grades PK through 6 qualifying for free or reduced lunch support (PK-6%), and the 'State Share Ratio' (SSRC) which is a composite of assessed property value per student and median family income relative to the state median.
The quadratic mean is almost the same as the arithmetic mean, but it is shifted slightly towards the larger of the two percentages.
Apparently the mechanism used to adjust the results was to fall back to the FY2022 SSRC, which wipes out some of the gains for East Greenwich.
Fortunately the House Finance Committee proposal is not the final word, so we will have to wait and see.
...is a method of accounting that provides transparency, uniformity, accountability, and comparability of financial information for all schools and districts.
The Statewide Consolidated Financial Databases consists of three files for each year that contain revenue, expense, and capital/debt service information.
In the expense database, budget and actual values are available for the school years 2010-2011 through 2019-2020. This data is comprised of approximately 2.9 million records.
I used this data to extract the total budgeted expense minus total actual expense for each year for all districts, and produced boxplots by district.
The results show that the East Greenwich School Department has a good track record when it comes to budgeting expenses:
The Finance Subcommittee of the East Greenwich School Committee is in the process of updating its fund balance policy. Questions that have arisen include: