Compare an average rural or central city school in Virginia with a suburban school, and you're likely to see some glaring distinctions. The effect of disparate funding for athletic facilities may be more obvious than the funding differences for libraries, teacher's aides, school counselors, and advanced classes.
If quality is measured in by the dollars spent per student, then students living in "poorer" communities (those with lower real estate values) may get a "poorer" education. Advocates for increasing Federal funding for K-12 schools highlight the benefits of equal funding per student. Head Start and other programs target the lower-income communities, and richer communities (where more families have incomes above the povert line) receive less Federal support.
What will happen if Federal support for K-12 schools increases even more? That could shift the primary funding source for schools from local property taxes to national income taxes. If the funding was distributed to school systems by a formula based just on population, would it be "fair" for every school system to receive a fixed amount - say, $1,800 per student enrolled on September 15?
In areas with a lower cost of living such as Wise County, increased Federal funding might allow school systems to repair/replace old buildings, enhance science labs, purchase subscriptions for the library to access Internet resources such as JSTOR - or pay teachers a higher salary. The impact of the same dollars in Fairfax County, with its higher cost of living, would be far less.
Is that "fair" for Fairfax? If a Wise County student gets a computer sciences degree at Virginia Tech and moves to Northern Virginia to work in a high-tech computer company, do Wise County residents get a fair return on their investment in that student's K-12 education?
What do you think? Should wealthy Fairfax County subsidize poorer Wise County? Should wealthy Virginia subsidize poorer Arkansas? Should the relatively-wealthy United States subsidize education in Mexico, India, etc.?
(NOTE: Since 1913 the Federal income tax has been graduated. The richer you are, the more you pay. Those with a high annual income pay a higher percentage of it in Federal income taxes - assuming the accountants don't shelter all of their income from taxation...).