Gone is a traditional metric based on the number of students who receive free or reduced-price school lunches. In its place is a calculation based on how many students’ families qualify for other public assistance programs.
Though it may seem like a small accounting change, the move has a big impact on how much money the state sends to schools, especially those in low-income areas. As it’s phased in over the next three years, the switch is expected to affect one-third of the state’s 300 public school districts.
Both the House and Senate agreed to spend $466 million more on schools - increasing funding by 2.3 percent in 2016 and again in 2017. That new money applies to the baseline funds divided among schools based on enrollment.
At the same time, lawmakers agreed to pull about $250 million out of what’s called the “complexity index,” which gives more money to districts with a higher percentage of low-income students.