Corrected: An earlier version of this story should have said that that 16 states have seen their funding gaps between low-income and upper-income school districts increase by at least $200 per student. Likewise, it should have said that 10 states have narrowed such gaps by spending at least $200 more per student in low-income districts.
Funding Gaps 2007
Sixteen states spent at least $200 less per student in low-income school districts than on students in high-income districts between 1999 and 2005, concludes a study by the Education Trust, a Washington-based nonprofit research organization.
In addition, the report found that in 21 states, school districts with a large minority population received less money than school districts with small minority populations—and in eight states, high-minority districts received at least $1,000 less per student in state funding.
The study also found that 10 states narrowed the spending gap between low-income and high-income students by spending at least $200 more per student in low-income school districts. In the six years the report examined, Maryland, Ohio, and Wyoming were found to have done the best job closing their funding gaps, eventually spending more on high-poverty districts than on low-poverty districts.
The report, the seventh in a series of annual reports by the Education Trust, investigated the “funding gap” by comparing the resources states committed to low-income and high-minority school districts with the amount spent on districts with a low percentage of students in need. The data for the report were taken from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education’s information on the amount spent by each state and local government on each of the nation’s 14,000 school districts.
A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2008 edition of Education Week