Research papers school funding

Many states, for instance, target at least some funds to districts with greater student need e. States vary in what they include in their general funding formula and what they fund outside the formula. Because schools rely so heavily on state aid, cuts to state funding especially formula funding generally force local school districts to scale back educational services, raise more revenue to cover the gap, or both.

Raising rates was particularly difficult during a severe recession with steep declines in housing values in many areas. As a result, local funding for schools fell after the recession took hold, exacerbating the even steeper fall in state funding. Our analysis of the latest Census data which includes data from 48 states [6] finds that, after adjusting for inflation:. A study on the impact of school financing reforms beginning in the s highlighted the importance of adequate funding for the success of children — especially low-income children — in school and later in the workplace.

Examining data on more than 15, children born between and , the study found that poor children whose schools received an estimated 10 percent increase in per-pupil spending adjusted for inflation before they began public school, and maintained that increase over their 12 years of school, were 10 percentage points more likely to complete high school than other poor children. They also had 10 percent higher earnings as adults and were 6 percentage points less likely as adults to be poor.

Property values fell sharply after the recession hit, making it difficult for local school districts to raise significant additional revenue through the property tax to make up for state funding cuts.

Public School Funding | Raise Your Hand Texas

Property values later improved, but the impact on property tax revenues was delayed. For these reasons, property tax revenue growth nationwide has been modest over the last decade. While revenues initially surged as property taxes caught up with the rapid growth in home prices associated with the pre-recession housing bubble, they fell sharply once home prices plummeted, and then rose only slowly. The overall result: after the recession hit at the end of , property tax revenue growth nationally averaged only about 1. Beyond raising local revenues, school districts have few options for preserving investments in education.

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Some localities could divert funds from other services to shore up school budgets, but this could impair other critical services, like police and fire protection. States and localities use capital spending to build new schools, renovate and expand facilities, and equip schools with more modern technologies.

Excuses for Unequal Funding

In most states, capital spending fell sharply after the recession hit, as did the non-capital school funding discussed in this paper. See chart. Thirty-seven states cut capital spending relative to inflation over this period, in many cases drastically. Six states cut capital spending by more than half. Nevada, the state with the sharpest reductions, cut capital spending by 82 percent. Many states have undertaken education reforms such as supporting professional development to improve teacher quality, improving interventions for young children to heighten school readiness, and turning around the lowest-achieving schools.

Deep cuts in state K spending can undermine those reforms by limiting the funds generally available to improve schools and by terminating or undercutting specific reform initiatives. Reforms endangered by funding cuts include:.

Public School Funding

State K cuts slowed the economic recovery by reducing overall economic activity after the recession officially ended in mid They forced school districts to lay off teachers and other employees, reduce pay for the remaining workers, and cancel contracts with suppliers and other businesses. These steps removed consumer demand from the economy, which in turn discouraged businesses from making new investments and hiring. Federal employment data show that school districts began cutting teachers and other employees in mid, when the first round of budget cuts began taking effect. By , local school districts had cut about , jobs.

In addition, education spending cuts have cost an unknown but likely significant number of private-sector jobs as school districts canceled or scaled back purchases and contracts for instance, buying fewer textbooks. In the long term, the budgetary savings from recent K funding cuts may cost states much more in diminished economic growth. To prosper, businesses require a well-educated workforce. The national distribution of funding reflects both the distribution within states, as well as how students are distributed across states.

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For example, the average state could have progressive funding, but at the national level funding could still be regressive if poor students are substantially more likely to live in states with low funding levels. Examining the funding of districts attended by the average poor vs. For example, perhaps poor students are concentrated in the worst-funded districts. I tackle this issue by calculating the share of poor students that are enrolled in the 10 percent of school districts with the lowest funding levels in their state I repeat the calculation looking at the bottom 10 percent nationwide.

If poor students are perfectly evenly distributed across districts, 10 percent of such students would attend schools in the bottom 10 percent of districts. I find that fewer than 10 percent of non-poor students were enrolled in low-spending districts in every year since , a rate 1 to 3 percentage points lower than the comparable rate for non-poor students in every year.

Figure 2 shows that the share of low-income students attending relatively poorly funded districts has not changed much over the past 20 years. Finally, I examine the distribution of state and local funding over time.

Figure 3 shows that the relative funding provided to the districts attended by poor vs. State funding levels are about 10 percentage points higher for poor students than non-poor students, and local funding is about 15 percent lower. Local funding does appear to have become modestly less regressive over this period, with the poor student disadvantage falling from 18 percent in to 14 percent in Other findings show that educators, especially in high-needs schools, lack guidance on how to make the best use of curriculum materials.

Jerry Brown is known for being skeptical of data and concerned that it is too often misused in education. He halted funding for further development of the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System and rejected federal funding to create a teacher database as well.


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The difficulties that schools serving low-income students have in filling teaching positions with well-prepared educators demonstrate the inequities across the state, according to the summary. Loeb led the research team for both Getting Down to Facts reports. Darling-Hammond added that addressing funding and teacher shortages are likely places for policymakers to begin.

And some of the papers provide suggestions on how specific steps could lead to more gains in student performance. In his paper, for example, Dan Goldhaber of the American Institutes for Research and the University of Washington, writes that districts with higher salaries and that are in closer proximity to teacher education programs have fewer vacancies. This suggests that increasing beginning wages and locating teacher education programs near districts that serve low-income and lower-performing students would be a way to create more equity in the distribution of fully credentialed and experienced teachers.

The state currently ranks 39th for school nurses per student and 50th for guidance counselors, the report says. Commissioned by former Gov. Bechtel, Jr. The first report also followed a settlement in the case of Williams v.