A Think Twice Review of:
Review of A Roadmap to Fix Arizona School Finance: Steering the Grand Canyon State Toward Fairness and Innovation in K-12 Education
Think Twice - Apr 14, 2020
Publisher/Think Tank - Reason Foundation
Author(s) - Christian Barnard
The report begins by describing how Arizona's lowest-income school districts receive less funding from state and local sources than higher-income school districts. As is the case in many states, Arizona's school districts with lower property wealth have higher tax rates and generate less revenue than higher property wealth school districts. The report then sets forth the 16 far-ranging policy recommendations that its author argues will improve the "transparency, equity, and effectiveness of Arizona's school finance system. . ." Collectively, these recommendations would amount to a fundamental overhaul of Arizona's school finance system.
Reviewer(s) - David R. Garcia, Arizona State University
Yet the report is not a credible policy document because it does not provide any assessment of the impact of any of the recommendations. To illustrate, Professor Garcia calculates this impact for two of the policy recommendations, demonstrating how they would decrease Arizona's already meager per-pupil expenditures. Further, the report's policy usefulness is undermined by the lack of coordination among the many policy recommendations, which may entice legislators to pick and choose which recommendations to implement and which to ignore. Professor Garcia concludes that this would lend itself to the exact type of piecemeal approach that created Arizona's inequitable school finance formula in the first place.