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United States Spends $23 Billion More on White Districts Than Nonwhite Ones

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Despite decades of court fights and countless state and local political battles, a $23 billion gap remains between the amount of money spent on predominately white school districts and predominately nonwhite ones, says a report by EdBuild, an advocacy organization that pushes for equitable spending.

Although school funding advocates have been making that point for some time, few national organizations have cited the disparity in such a stark and dramatic way nor attempted to place a dollar figure to the gap in spending.

For its study, EdBuild added up all the local and state tax revenue spent in the 2015-16 school year on districts that are more than 75 percent white and on districts that are more than 75 percent nonwhite. The authors found that, on average, the nonwhite districts get $2,226 less funding per student than the white districts. It found that the high-poverty nonwhite districts receive $1,487 less per student than the high-poverty white districts.

Some state policymakers, however, take issue with the group's methodology. EdBuild, for example, did not include charter schools, schools on Native American reservations, or states with racially monolithic populations, such as Idaho. They also did not weigh districts' size in order to figure out how geography and district borders affect school resources.

Vol. 38, Issue 24, Page 4

Published in Print: March 6, 2019, as United States Spends $23 Billion More on White Districts Than Nonwhite Ones
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