The Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding program is a formula driven allocation of state provided funds to local school districts. The formula includes funding for transportation costs and special needs students as reported by districts.
In 1990 the Kentucky Education Reform Act as mandated by the General Assembly established SEEK, a program that balances the available education dollars among local school districts regardless of economic circumstances and place of birth. SEEK replaced the Minimum Foundation and Power Equalization programs. SEEK comprises of three components: Adjusted base guarantee, tier I and tier tier II.
Calculating Per-Pupil Expenditures:
According to Deborah L. Montgomery, author of the 1995 study “The Impact of the Kentucky Education Reform Act on Special Education and Program Services”, SEEK comprises of three distinct but related components:
Adjusted Base Guarantee
Biennially, the Kentucky General Assembly derives a guaranteed amount of revenue per pupil (base) based on the available funds. The base amount for the 2008-2009 school year is $3,822.00.
The base funding for each school district is adjusted for additional costs for; at-risk students, exceptional students, home and hospital, transportation services and language (Limited English Proficiency). With all these adjustments, the SEEK figure for 2008-2009 amounts to $5,199.06.
SEEK also requires a minimum level of effort from local school districts, whereby each school district is mandated to levy a minimum equivalent tax rate of $0.30 per $100 of property value. However, this funding need not be obtained through property taxes; it could be through other levies permitted for general school purposes such as motor vehicle tax and utility tax. For this reason, and also the various adjustments, SEEK state estimates vary by school district. For the year 2008-2009, the average state local effort amounts to $1,380.02. This figure is subtracted from the total guaranteed base funding in order to come up with a final estimate.
This is an optional component of SEEK that allows school districts to raise additional revenue of up to 15% of the amount generated by the adjusted base guarantee if the property value per student is less than 150% of the state’s average. If a school district chooses to levy this additional tax, it receives matching state funds in order to guarantee that each participating district will receive that same revenue per pupil when making the same tax effort. This levy is not subject to an electoral vote. The average state Tier I funds for 2008-2009 amount to $297.20.
Tier II is also an optional component of SEEK which allows school districts to raise additional revenues of up to 30% of the amount generated by the adjusted base guarantee. This funding must be approved by a vote of the electorate in the school district. With Tier II funding, the district does not get matching state funds. For the year 2008-2009, the state does not have an average.
SEEK estimates could also be subject to “Hold Harmless”, under which school districts are guaranteed the same per-pupil spending they received in the previous school year. For 2008-2009, the average Hold Harmless figure for the state is $0.45. This is because only two school districts (Anchorage Independent and Southgate Independent) qualified for Hold Harmless.