District Administration March 2018 - 20

BeyondtheNews

FINANCE, EQUITY

Report urges federal action on equitable funding
The federal government must take "bold
action" to make education funding
more equitable, says a recent report from
the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
(DAmag.me/usccr).
To start, Congress should boost funding to states and districts that show they
are devoting more resources to programs
and facilities for underserved students,
the January 2018 report says.
"The report can help districts situate
themselves within the larger context and
spark conversations about unfair patterns," says Janie Tankard Carnock, an
education policy analyst with the think
tank New America.
Tracking equity
The commission's report also recommends that Congress collect, monitor and
evaluate school spending data to see what
funds directly impact student outcomes.
While districts are already required to report school spending to comply with the
Every Student Succeeds Act, many still
struggle with the process. "In the coming
years, schools will face a much greater
degree of public scrutiny, so it will be
critical for local leaders to control the narrative about spending," says Carnock.
Districts that receive equity funding should distribute dollars based on
student need by school-not by district,
says Jessica Gartner, CEO and founder
of Allovue, an edtech company that
helps K12 educators allocate financial
resources.
"It's difficult to break down the equity of dollars when they're reported
centrally," she says. "Allocating funds to
individual schools will make reporting
easier and will help with analyzing which
resources are generating the most outcomes districtwide."
To better track equity, Gartner rec-

20 March 2018

Total revenue for public elementary
and secondary education in the U.S., FY 2014
$700,000,000

$623,208,803

$600,000,000
$500,000,000
$400,000,000
$280,507,097

$300,000,000

$288,196,281

$200,000,000
$54,505,424

$100,000,000
$0

Total

Local

State

Federal

Source: Compiled by USCCR from U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education
Statistics, Common Core of Data "National Public Education Financial Survey" fiscal year 2014, and
NCES, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education School Year
2013-14" p.5 Table 1. The graph is derived from one published by USCCR p.28, DAmag.me/usccr.

ommends directing 80 to 90 percent of
dollars to individual schools. Districts
can report other expenses, such as a superintendent's salary, centrally.
Funding increases show results. States
that have overhauled education funding through legislation and court orders
have seen improvements in student
performance, according to a 2015 study
by the University of California, Berkeley
(DAmag.me/berkeley).
Taking action
Three years ago, Superintendent Laurence T. Spring of Schenectady City
School District in New York took a
proactive approach by filing a complaint
against the state for underfunding poor
districts.
Spring downloaded the state's data
and discovered that New York districts

with more black students received less
state aid. "It's important to know more
than just your district's data, and to find
a systematic manner on how kids of a
particular social class are being shortchanged," Spring says.
He and three other New York superintendents partnered with the Capital
Region Chamber of Commerce to lobby
the state and received additional funding
as a result. This allowed Spring to take
$1 million off the tax levy and still add
student services.
"The money might come from the
state if you wait, but it won't come in its
entirety and it won't get distributed equitably," he adds. "Our complaint put the
federal agency in the position to police
and fix systems that are unintentionally
discriminatory."
-Steven Wyman-Blackburn
District Administration


http://www.DAmag.me/usccr http://www.DAmag.me/usccr http://www.DAmag.me/berkeley

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration March 2018

District Administration March 2018 - Cover1
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