Dimensions of Equity
School Funding

The Vision

Each student—including students with higher needs and students of color— attends school in a district that distributes funding based on the needs of its students, by way of flexible and transparent funding systems, so all students can reach high standards and thrive.

Sample Questions to Ask

  • After accounting for differences in student need, how does our district's overall spending level compare to the state average and other peer districts?
  • When all funds are included, how does per-pupil spending compare at high-need vs. low-need schools in our district? How does this spending change if Title I funds are excluded?
  • Are the formulas that govern the resources that each school receives widely shared and understood?

See our DIY District Diagnostic for more examples and recommendations about the types of data to look at.

Common Causes of Inequity

  • Insufficient District Revenue: When overall funding levels are insufficient, it can limit a district’s ability to different spending based on students’ needs.
  • Limited Differentiation: A district's funding formula may not meaningfully differentiate between schools to meet the unique needs of all students and all schools.
  • Insufficient Transparency: Because a district’s funding formula may not be shared broadly in accessible ways, school leaders and the community may not understand which resources each school receives and why.

See our District Guidebook for more root causes and action steps to address inequities.

Related Dimensions

No single dimension of education resource equity can unlock every student’s potential—but when dimensions are combined to meet students’ distinct needs, they are a strong foundation for unlocking better, more equitable experiences in school.

Explore the Diverse Classrooms & Schools dimension, as students of color and students from low-income backgrounds are often concentrated in schools with insufficient funding.