See how your state funds public schools

Welcome to the Friday, June 10, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. How public schools are funded
  2. North Dakota’s upcoming primary elections
  3. #FridayTrivia: How many states will decide ballot measures on indentured servitude this year?

How public schools are funded

If you’re a regular Brew reader, you know we love local elections. But did you know we also publish a weekly newsletter focused exclusively on school board politics and education policy? 

It’s called Hall Pass, and in each issue, we bring you school board election results, the sharpest education-related commentary, and research from across the political spectrum.

I’m a subscriber myself, and I wanted to give you a quick update about a recent feature – how public schools are funded.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, state governments provided about half of all school funding in the 2018-19 school year. But how states allocate funding to schools varies. A recent report by the Education Commission of the States (ECS), a nonpartisan organization covering education policy, divided how states allocate funding into three categories:

  • Student-based foundation: the state provides school districts with a base amount of funding per student, typically defined in state law.
  • Resource-based allocation: the state provides funding based on the costs of purchasing educational materials and hiring staff for a given number of students.
  • Guaranteed tax base: the state uses a formula to help equalize funding between districts with low and high property tax revenue.

According to the ECS, 33 states and the District of Columbia use a student-based foundation model to allocate funds. Ten states use a resource-based model, five use a hybrid approach, and two states—Vermont and Wisconsin—use a guaranteed tax base approach.

On top of the primary funding models, states also use a variety of mechanisms for allocating additional funding to categories of students or schools, such as special education students or geographically isolated schools.

Click here to read more about public school funding, and click below to subscribe to Hall Pass to keep up to date on the issues driving school board politics!

Keep reading 

North Dakota’s upcoming primary elections

Voters in four states—Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina—will participate in the next round of primary elections on June 14. Throughout this week, we’ve brought you breakdowns from Maine and Nevada. Next up: North Dakota, the races on the ballot, and how their primaries work.

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R) is running in a contested primary against one challenger, oil rig derrickhand Riley Kuntz (R). There is also a contested Democratic primary in the race. Hoeven is seeking re-election to a third term.

Voters won’t need to make any decisions in the state’s lone U.S. House race yet. U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R) was the only Republican to file. And only one challenger—Mark Haugen—filed on the Democratic side. This is the first time since 2016 that North Dakota hasn’t had any contested primaries for U.S. House. 

There are six state executive offices up for election this year, including attorney general and agriculture commissioner. Republican incumbents are running for re-election in every race except for secretary of state, where incumbent Al Jaeger (R), one of the longest-serving secretaries of state in U.S. history, is retiring.

Jaeger, first elected in 1992, has the second-longest tenure of any current secretary of state behind only Wisconsin’s Doug LaFollette (D), who has been in office since 1983. There is a contested Republican primary in this race.

One position on the state supreme court is also up for election. Incumbent Justice Daniel Crothers is running unopposed.

At the state legislative level, North Dakota will hold its most contested primaries since 2014. Typically, between 4 and 7% of primaries are contested in the state. This year, 18% of primaries are contested. There are three contested Democratic primaries after three cycles of the party holding none. For Republicans, the number of contested primaries increased 250% from six in 2020 to 21 this year.

North Dakota is using partisan primaries in all of its races, meaning candidates from the same party will compete against one another to win their party’s nomination in contested primaries.

In North Dakota, candidates can advance from a primary with a plurality, rather than a majority, of the vote. The state does not hold runoff elections. This means the candidate or candidates with the most votes—even if less than 50% of the total votes cast—advances to the general election.

If you have primaries coming up, use Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Lookup to see what’s on your ballot and bring your choices to the polls with our My Vote app!

Keep reading 

#FridayTrivia: How many states will decide ballot measures on indentured servitude this year?

In the Tuesday Brew, we told you about a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment that will appear on Louisiana’s general election ballot that would remove language from the state constitution allowing involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime. We also explained how Louisiana is not alone in placing this type of measure on its ballot in 2022.

Including Louisiana, how many states will decide ballot measures on indentured servitude this year?

  1. 2
  2. 12
  3. 5
  4. 8