David Goldstein is a writer (sometimes a funny writer) who has a local liberal blog, Horsesass, plus he writes for The Stranger Slog. He is fond of stats and charts.
He put out an interesting thread about funding for schools by county. The charts shows that "red" counties get more money than "blue" counties Meaning, they get to vote conservatively (tending to not vote for school levies and bonds) but they still receive dollars for education that the rest of the more populated counties raise. It's fairly eye-opening.
Keep in mind what he says about the chart:
And this represents Basic Education only... no special education or bilingual programs to skew the numbers. In general and on average, it just simply costs the state more to educate children in red counties than it does in the bluer parts of the state. Why? Well, a quick glance at the OSPI data reveals the gross inefficiency of sustaining the many tiny school districts that dot Washington's rural landscape. When you combine all sources of funding—state, federal and local—it cost $46,202 per student in 2008-2009 to educate the nine children enrolled in Adams County's Benge School District, compared to only $11,839 per student in our state's largest district, Seattle.
He also points out (and I agree):
Now, I'm not posting this data to make an argument for school district consolidation (though when it comes to some small and mid-sized districts, I'm guessing there's a helluva strong argument to make). And I'm certainly not making either a moral or policy argument against our state's wealthier households shouldering a disproportionate share of the cost of providing state services. Furthermore, I value what rural Washingtonians produce, and truly want them to be able to sustain their communities and educate their children, while maintaining a comfortable standard of living.
But the fact is, many of these communities and the basic government services they require are simply not sustainable without substantive state and federal subsidies... subsidies that we cannot continue to maintain at adequate levels without support from our rural neighbors to raise the taxes necessary to pay for them.