Do Poor Kids Get Their Fair Share of School Funding?

Do Poor Kids Get Their Fair Share of School Funding?

While thirty-five states have progressive school funding formulas designed to target districts serving primarily low-income districts, poorer districts in nearly half of those states still receive less local and state funding per student than richer ones, a report from the Urban Institute finds. The report, Do Poor Kids Get Their Fair Share of School Funding? (21 pages, PDF), found that with the addition of federal dollars, including Title I funding, poorer districts in most states receive about the same as or slightly more per student than richer ones, with only Illinois, Wyoming, and Nevada allocating less. And while Alaska, New Jersey, and Ohio are highly progressive in terms of allocating more combined per-student funding to poorer districts, the report notes that the most progressive states also tend to be the most economically segregated, making it easier to target disadvantaged students concentrated in certain districts. The challenges states face, the report's authors conclude, is finding the right set of funding policies to accomplish their objectives given historical, institutional, and political constraints.