Student Funding Pilot to Be Pioneered in Puerto Rico

Politico Pro reports, the Education Department announced that Puerto Rico will be the first to pilot a new program created by the Every Student Succeeds Act that enables experimentation with weighted-student funding formulas.

The pilot allows up to 50 school districts to consolidate federal, state and local education funding into one pot that would be allocated based on students’ needs. Puerto Rico pursued the pilot as part of a package of reforms in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

In a release, the Education Department noted that Puerto Rico plans to allocate additional funds to low-income students, English language learners and rural students.

“Puerto Rico’s use of a student-centered funding system will help to ensure those with the greatest need receive the most support,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “Amid the hardships and challenges following Hurricane Maria, I am pleased to see Puerto Rico rethinking school and putting students’ needs above all else.”

Puerto Rico Secretary of Education Julia Keleher said in a statement, “This pilot allows us to take a more scientific approach and track the relationship between strategic investments and future learning gains. We are committed to implementing effective solutions that benefit our students and ensure accountability to our families.”

Four school districts and the Puerto Rico Department of Education originally applied for the pilot in order to implement it for the coming school year. Districts interested in it for the 2019-2020 school year must submit their applications by July 15.

By Caitlin Emma