Breaking down school funding data

Recently released Department of Education data from the 2014-15 school year shows how U.S. school districts are funded and how much they spend per pupil. Jill Barshay of the Hechinger Report dug into the data and learned that the 25% most high-poverty districts received 3.4% less funding than the 25% of districts with the greatest wealth.

Where were the gaps the greatest? Among states where wealthy districts receive the most funding, Illinois faces the largest gap (17.9%), followed by New Hampshire (11.3%), Nevada (9.5%), Maryland (8.4%), Virginia (8.3%), and Maine (4.0%).

In most states, however, the districts with the highest poverty receive more funding than wealthier districts, with the greatest differences appearing in South Dakota (39.4%), Alaska (35.8%), Michigan (29.5%), Minnesota (27.2%), New Jersey (28.9%), Montana (25.3%), Ohio (23.6%), and Massachusetts (23.0%). Barshay notes that because of differences in states’ overall wealth and school funding, the equitable funding within certain states is not enough to offset the nationwide gap.

Barshay’s column includes an interactive map showing gaps in each state. The complete data is available from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Source: Barshay, J. (2018, July 9). In 6 states, school districts with the neediest students get less money than the wealthiest. The Hechinger Report.

 

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