Florida's Education Funding System
Report 95-50, April 1996
- The Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) provides the state and local education funding for the state's over 2 million students. The Joint Legislative Auditing Committee asked OPPAGA to review the funding program. This review examines whether the FEFP accomplishes its intent in equalizing education funding for the state's 67 school districts.
- We found the FEFP appears to accomplish its intent. The property wealth of a school district does not influence the amount of education funding too heavily. We did, however, find that the gap between the district receiving the highest funding and lowest funding per student is widening. Three factors in education funding warrant the Legislature's continued scrutiny. First, the calculation of the district cost differential, or cost of living adjustment, needs adjusting. Second, the use of some education programs that provide additional funding for students is unequal across the districts. Third, the ability of districts to raise additional local revenue is varied.
- The FEFP distributes funding based on the students in each school. If the formula is to work, school districts must spend the funding on the school that earned the funding. The majority (83%) of school sites statewide spent at least what their students generated through the FEFP. Expenditures at alternative sites for specific educational programs and adult education centers were more likely to spend less than their revenue. Rural, property-poor districts were less likely to have funds in addition to the FEFP. The FEFP funds in these districts were more likely to be needed for district administration, resulting in less of the funding spent at the local schools.
education, education funding