March 20, 2024

Splitting the Bill: A Bellwether Series on Education Finance Equity

By Bonnie O’Keefe | Indira Dammu | Linea Harding | Alex Spurrier | Jennifer O’Neal Schiess | Sophie Zamarripa | Krista Kaput

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Education finance sets the foundation for what is possible in every school in the country. Education finance equity is critical to leveling the playing field for underserved students in under-resourced schools. But in too many states, the education funding system remains inequitable, inadequate, and opaque to all but a few. Even state school finance systems designed to reflect strong principles around equity can be rife with technical pitfalls or loopholes that jeopardize the realization of those principles for students and schools. 

How can states make school funding formulas work more effectively to provide the necessary resources for all students? 

Splitting the Bill: A Bellwether Series on Education Finance Equity gives advocates, state policymakers, and other stakeholders a crash course in the fundamentals of education finance and in key questions to ask in their states and communities. First published in 2021, we are adding new briefs to the series on an ongoing basis.

What Is School Finance Equity and Why Does It Matter?

What Are the Biggest Equity Problems in State Education Finance Systems?

How Do Districts Distribute Money to Schools?

How Does the Base Amount Work in Student-Based Funding Formulas?

How Do School Finance Systems Support English Learners?

How Do School Finance Systems Support Students With Disabilities?

How Are Public Schools Funded?

How Can School Finance Systems Support Students With Additional Learning Needs?

Are School Finance Lawsuits Effective?

How Do School Finance Systems Support Economically Disadvantaged Students?

How Do States Fund School Transportation?

What are the Major Policy and Funding Components of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)?

How Are State Education Funding Formulas Structured?

How Do Local Taxes Affect School Finance Equity?

What Should the Future of School Finance Equity Look Like?

How Do States Fund School Facilities?

What Funding Weights Should States Consider With Caution?

What are the Core Funding Components of the “Grants to States” Funding (IDEA Part B, Section 611) in IDEA?

This series of short briefs is part of Bellwether’s ongoing work to address inequities in state education finance in order to help level the playing field for marginalized students in under-resourced schools and communities. Read more of Bellwether’s work on state education finance here. 

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