Published Online: December 5, 2011
Published in Print: December 7, 2011, as Poor Schools Found to Get Shortchanged

Report Roundup

Poor Schools Found to Get Shortchanged

"Comparability of State and Local Expenditures Among Schools Within Districts: A Report From the Study of School-Level Expenditures"

New data from the U.S. Department of Education suggest that many schools serving high concentrations of low-income students aren't getting their fair share of public funds.

Nearly half of all high-poverty schools, including some that get Title I money, were at least 10 percent below the average school in their districts in terms of state and local aid, according to the studyRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which looked at more than 13,000 districts across the country.

It says a key source of the disparities were personnel costs. More than 40 percent of Title I schools spent less on personnel per student than non-Title I schools serving the same grades in the same district. Federal law requires that districts give high-poverty schools the same share of state and local dollars as their other schools before they can tap Title I dollars for disadvantaged students, but it doesn't say districts have to take actual teachers' salaries into account. That means a Title I school with inexperienced—and lower-paid—teachers could get less state and local money overall than a non-Title I school in the same district.

The department has also compiled a searchable database so districts can compare how they stack up.

Vol. 31, Issue 13, Page 4

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