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ERIC Number: ED535988
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug
Pages: 25
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Measuring Inequity in School Funding
Epstein, Diana
Center for American Progress
Low-income children tend to be concentrated in low-income school districts, and these children often attend schools that receive far fewer resources per pupil despite their greater need. Since education is primarily a state responsibility, more than 90 percent of school funding comes from state and local sources, and the federal government provides the rest. Districts have traditionally drawn much of their revenue from local property taxes, which means districts in high-wealth parts of a state are often funded more generously than districts in low-wealth areas. Over time, some states have moved to school finance models in which districts receive more funding from state sources and rely less on local revenue streams. The shift to higher proportions of state funding is aimed at ensuring districts in lower-wealth areas have access to additional resources so funding across districts is more equitable. In other states, however, the level of school funding is still largely driven by local taxes. This paper discusses the differences in per pupil funding across states by highlighting measures of spending and effort. It then examines the problem of intrastate fiscal inequity and surveys some of the different measures that are used to characterize a state's level of funding equity among districts within a state. It then compares and contrasts the different measures and presents data on states' fiscal equity using a variety of measures. The data demonstrate that many states are not fairly funding their school districts. (Contains 4 figures and 19 endnotes.)
Center for American Progress. 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-682-1611; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Ford Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for American Progress