Simple Comparisons of Base State Aid are Deceptive
Posted by Dave Trabert on Monday, May 7, 2012

Claims that Base State Aid Per-Pupil (BSAPP) has been cut back to 1990s levels are quite deceptive, as they ignore how state funding of schools has significantly changed over the years.  At one point, nearly all programs were funded out of BSAPP, but subsequent years have seen more money added on top of BSAPP for services that previously came out of the base.

Since student populations vary widely some districts receive additional money through ‘weightings’ on top of BSAPP ("At Risk, Bilingual, etc).  Quite a few ‘weightings’ have been added or expanded over the years, with the effect of reducing stress on BSAPP.  A full list of the weightings, their respective values and the complete formula is available on KansasOpenGov. 

The adjacent table demonstrates how those weightings and other state aid have changed.

In 1998, there was only $178 per-pupil in addition to BSAPP, KPERS and Bond aid.  This year’s estimate is more than 10 times that amount. 

It is correct to say BSAPP has remained relatively unchanged since the late 1990s, but that leaves out an increasingly large portion of State K-12 funding.  In 1998, BSAPP accounted for nearly all of State funding of Education (91%) while today BSAPP has been supplemented by allotments made via ‘weightings’ and now accounts for only 55% of State funding of education.

The only way to fairly compare the change in BSAPP over the years would be to deduct those items that once were paid out of the base but are now in supplemental funds (or vice versa; increase BSAPP each year on the same basis).