via National Opportunity to Learn
Recent data released by the US Department of Education and the Hechlinger report revealed that funding disparities between rich school districts and poor school districts increased by 44% over the last decade. According to the National Opportunity to Learn, there is a funding gap of $1,500 per student.
National Opportunity to Learn goes on to detail the causes behind the widening gap between rich and poor schools:
Part of the problem arises from how schools are funded. Across the country, local property taxes form the basis for a district’s budget, supplemented to varying degrees by state (and to a smaller extent, federal) funding. As Jill Barshay explains in her column for the Hechinger Report, schools relying most on local funding have the biggest disparities. Meanwhile, federal funds, which are intended as a supplement to help support students with the highest needs, are instead being used to barely equalize these local and state-level disparities. As a result, high-needs students often don’t receive the extra resources they actually require to succeed.
This school funding system is also impacted by state-level developments. For example, the budget cuts many states made during the 2008 recession included decreases in aid to school districts, and so far states have been slow to restore their support for schools to pre-recession levels. Without adequate state funding, districts are required to rely more on inadequate and inequitable local property taxes – hence Pennslyvania’s particularly high 33% gap, for example.
National Opportunity to Learn | In Past Decade, Funding Gap Between Rich and Poor Schools Grew 44 Percent
The Hechlinger Report | The gap between rich and poor schools grew over 44% in a decade