An Analysis of the Impacts of the AIR Funding Formula Proposal on New Mexico School Districts

Last Updated: February 10, 2009

Impacts of the AIR Funding Formula Proposal on New Mexico School Districts
by Jerry Johnson, Ed.D and Marty Strange, Rural School and Community Trust

This report of the Rural School and Community Trust and the Ben Lujan Leadership and Public Policy Institute presents findings from an investigation of the impact of the funding formula proposal commissioned by the New Mexico Funding Formula Task Force (FFTF) and developed by American Institutes of Research (AIR).

Appointed by the New Mexico Legislature and Governor Bill Richardson, the Funding Formula Task Force (FFTF) was charged with providing recommendations regarding the state's public education funding mechanism. The FFTF contracted with American Institutes of Research (AIR), which conducted a comprehensive study of the current New Mexico public school funding formula and presented recommendations for a proposed new formula. The AIR report was submitted to the New Mexico Legislature in January 2008. The resulting proposed legislation (HB 241) did not pass during the thirty day legislative session, but may be reconsidered during the 2009 legislative session.

This report uses data from the AIR report and from other publicly available sources (e.g., the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Education Statistics) to investigate the expected impact of the proposed formula on school districts with varying characteristics. There are more recent estimates of the distributional effect of the formula from the New Mexico Public Education Department (which estimates the Department has invited public school districts to respond to, particularly with respect to the accuracy of the underlying variables on which they are based). We use the AIR estimates even though they are a year older because they are part of a comprehensive database containing all variables on which the formula is based.

Download the complete report.