No two states finance their public schools exactly alike. The following summaries highlight the major features of each state’s school funding system. The information is based on a survey of state education departments conducted by the Education Week Research Center in the summer and fall of 2004.
Each summary includes a basic description of the funding formula, including any major weights or categorical programs that the state uses to target more money to certain students, schools, program areas, or levels of education.
In addition, the descriptions highlight whether districts must make a minimum local contribution to receive state aid, and whether any taxes or lottery proceeds are earmarked for education. Where relevant, the summaries include descriptions of recent court cases related to school finance or any studies conducted to determine the cost of an adequate education.
Senior Research Associate Jennifer Park wrote the descriptions, which were returned to each state for review before being published here.
Information about court cases and adequacy studies was drawn, in part, from access, a national project of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, a New York City-based group that works to promote equal educational opportunity and is representing the plaintiffs in an ongoing school finance case in New York, and from the National School Boards Association.