New report from iNACOL explores Performance-Based Funding

iNACOL has just released Performance-based Funding & Online Learning: Maximizing Resources for Student Success. Evergreen, along with Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, Inc. (APA), collaborated on the research. As part of the research we convened many state education policy leaders and school finance experts, who provided exceptionally valuable insights into school funding. From the iNACOL press release:

“This study examines the variety of funding models for K-12 online learning, explores adequacy costs, and outlines the guiding principles of performance-based funding to reward outcomes. As state policy makers consider performance-based funding options in education, this report provides recommendations and literature to expand the research base in support of equity, closing the achievement gap and increased student outcomes.

Susan Patrick, President and CEO of iNACOL, said, ‘This report asks the question, What if education funding was not based on seat-time, but on rewarding outcomes in student performance? It highlights differences in how online learning programs are funded in states and explores policy principles to ensure equity and adequate funding levels. We look forward to working with state policy makers who wish to explore performance-based funding further.’… Because the ability for states to implement performance-based funding varies, the guidance offered in this report provides flexible steps that they can take, including variable starting points to allow state leaders to adapt funding policies to local contexts.”

In addition to the policy recommendations surrounding performance-based funding, the report also contributes valuable supporting information, including the following:

  • A discussion of how funding for online schools compares to state education funding averages (beginning on page 16)
  • An exploration of funding for supplemental online programs, and in particular state virtual schools (beginning on page 19)
  • The most recent adequacy cost study, which was conducted by APA as part of the research for the report (beginning on page 26).

The cost study found that “Using personnel salaries in Colorado and Pennsylvania under this costing-out approach, the cost of the full-time online school (that is resourced to bring all students to college- and career-ready success) is between 93% and 98% of a traditional school cost.” It also found that “the cost of providing supplemental online courses would be about $600 per student, per semester course.”

For anyone interested in hearing more, iNACOL will be hosting (and I will be joining) a webinar to discuss the research findings on April 8 at 2ET. To register see