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Funding and Finance Systems

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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Shortchanged: Funding Inequity in Schools

Every effort to improve educational outcomes and equity for students includes one key lever: money and how it's spent. Where funding comes from, how much is available, how it gets allocated to school districts and to schools, how those factors reflect the needs and circumstances of students and communities, and how it is spent are some of the fundamental dynamics that determine whether an education finance system is equitable or inequitable. And inequitably, inadequately funded schools must work uphill to deliver the education that students need.

We must understand and improve these foundational systems and structures to ensure that our most disadvantaged students receive a great and equitable education. Our work and issue experts explore how finance and inequity in education, housing, and more shortchange millions of underserved students and families across the country.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:


March 9, 2022
Indira Dammu, Bonnie O'Keefe
Click HERE to download the report, or read it in the viewer below.* Click HERE to access the interactive data tool for this report.  Nationwide,...
October 28, 2021
Indira Dammu, Alex Spurrier, Bonnie O’Keefe, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
Education finance sets the foundation for what is possible in every school in the country. Education finance equity is critical to leveling the...
October 7, 2021
Alex Spurrier, Sara Hodges, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
"The geographic lines that separate districts wouldn’t matter if school funding and affordable housing were spread equally across regions. But they’...
August 31, 2021
Max Marchitello, Andrew J. Rotherham, Juliet Squire
"One of the fundamental beliefs underlying Bellwether’s analysis is that teacher pension plans serve some teachers very well, but they don’t serve...
March 25, 2021
Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) includes $123 billion to K-12 education through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund...


Blog Posts

October 13, 2021
Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
In a new report, Alex Spurrier, Sara Hodges, and I outline the very real impact of policy decisions across housing, funding, and education...
July 22, 2021
Jennifer O’Neal Schiess and Indira Dammu
President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposes $20 billion in funding for a new Title I Equity Grants program that has the potential to...
October 7, 2020
Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
How do individual schools get their funds from districts, how do districts get funding from states, and how do states generate revenue for...