February 26, 2019

Results-Based Funding: Quality Schools Serving More Students

Results-Based Funding is a relatively new school funding model that provides additional dollars to Arizona schools that are delivering high performing educational programs to their students, especially those top schools that are serving high poverty students. Approved by the Arizona Legislature in 2016, the program has delivered additional money to Arizona’s best public schools across the state, with additional support for great schools serving high poverty communities.

Governor Ducey is now proposing to build on the success of the program and expand the funding to support high poverty ‘B’-rated schools.

This proposed expansion is of critical importance to students in communities throughout our state. Why? Because results funding incentivizes public schools – traditional district, magnet, and charter – to not only grow their impact, but also close the achievement gap by supporting our teachers. And nowhere is the need for this kind of growth more important than in lower-income, traditionally underserved communities.

As an example, in Legislative District 27, which is located in south and southwest Phoenix, three high performing schools earned results funding this year. However, if results funding were  expanded according to the Governor’s proposal, nine high poverty ‘B’-rated schools would also earn funds next year. This would be an incredible leap forward for an area that has historically had a limited number of quality schools available to its families.

So, what can this additional funding really do for these schools and, more importantly, for the communities they serve? School leaders who have already earned results funding can tell you exactly how it’s helped their mission.

“Simply put, Results-Based Funding has been fundamental in enabling us to provide more low-income students in southeast Tucson an opportunity to receive an ‘A’-rated education, in a neighborhood where they can walk to school, and where the school will be an active community partner and resource,” says Fatih Karatas, CEO of Sonoran Schools.

Dr. Angel Canto, Assistant Superintendent of Nogales Unified School District, said the district used its results funding for things such as “teacher and instructional staff salaries, stipends for tutoring, and supplementary materials.” They are also examining professional development opportunities for staff.

Regardless of the specifics, one theme was constant when we asked school leaders about what Results-Based Funding meant to them: it was allowing them to build on the practices and approaches that made them successful in the first place.

Phoenix Union High School District Director Federal and State Programs Stacie Crain Hacker might have put it best, “With our teachers receiving the results-based funding in the form of professional development, we know this will pay additional dividends toward increased student achievement at Bioscience (high school) and across the District.”

If results funding is expanded to include high poverty “B” rated schools, similar stories will be told by an ever-growing number of school leaders from traditional district, charter and magnet schools that are serving lower-income students in communities across Arizona. With Results-Based Funding, these schools can continue building on their success and the state can continue working towards ensuring that all students have access to high quality schools, regardless of their family’s income or they zip code they call home.

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