School Funding: Is Any Amount Ever Enough

Mississippi has so far escaped lawsuits over public school financing. Suits in other states have focused on whether school funding was [quote] "adequate." Setting aside for a moment whether it�s appropriate for a court to decide this rather than a legislature, one problem with these suits is that adequacy is an entirely subjective standard.

How much is enough?

Most court rulings have not considered that question. Rather than determine what should be done in schools and how much that would cost, most courts are simply saying, "Spend More!"

Let�s say there�s a district that spends $6,000 per pupil, and they think that�s not enough. Let's give them a 50% increase, to $9,000 a year.

But, wait. There are districts already spending that much, and they say they need more. So let�s give them a 100% increase to $12,000. But, again, there are districts spending that much who say it�s not enough.

One New York district spends $45,000 per student, but their students still score below the state average in some categories.

A wealthy man was asked, "How much money is enough?" His reply? "Just one more dollar."


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