Student Based Allocation2019-06-25T22:47:23+00:00

Student Based Allocation

Student-based allocation: Doling out dollars based on student needs

A growing number of states and districts are moving toward distributing dollars based on the needs of designated student types—such as students living in poverty or who are English language learners—rather than dole out resources based on one-size-fits-all staffing or instructional delivery models. Each designated student generates additional dollars on top of a fixed-dollar sum distributed per student for all students. SBA is also known as weighted student funding and student-based budgeting.

Student Based Allocation Infographic


Our ongoing research shows many districts funnel at least a portion of their dollars through an SBA formula to allocate money to schools. But even as the number of SBA districts grows, little research has documented the range of their SBA formulas, the extent to which they change how resources are used, the degree to which they are meeting their stated goals of improving equity, flexibility and transparency. Our federally funded three-year study into SBA will help fill the void. We also host a network of districts exploring or implementing student based allocation formulas. This collaborative network meets virtually once a month to explore current research, troubleshoot common challenges and support efforts to advance SBA formulas in local context. To learn more about this network email Anthony Drew at


Our ongoing research shows many states funnel at least a portion of their dollars through an SBA formula to allocate money to districts and documents early impacts from California’s landmark student-based funding law.However, many states still have layers of rules and provisions that limit districts’ flexibility, create inequities among districts and hinder productivity.

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L.A. District Is Asking for a $500 Million Parcel Tax. In Return, Let the Schools Decide How to Spend Their New Funds

As LAUSD asks local voters to approve a $500 million annual parcel tax, some groups are asking for financial reform in return. Trust in the district’s financial leadership is low, school performance is lagging, and the district is bleeding cash to cover commitments made in years past. As Marguerite Roza and Anthony Drew note in this commentary, many of the...

Weighted Student Funding Is On The Rise. Here’s What We Are Learning

Over the last two decades, dozens of big districts (including those in New York City, Boston, Denver, Houston, and Chicago) have shifted to using a weighted student formula to distribute some portion of their total budget. In this blog, Marguerite Roza discusses initial findings from Edunomics Lab’s ongoing IES-funded research study that seeks to document the range of...

DeVos Proposed $50 Million for Districts to Decentralize Federal Money, to Put Schools in the Driver’s Seat. It’s a Smart Idea

The U.S. Department of Education’s proposed 2020 budget included a largely overlooked provision that could bring more autonomy to schools in how they deploy federal dollars. In this commentary, Marguerite Roza urges legislators to consider the pilot program to give school leaders and staff a say in how federal resources are used in their schools—and a chance to...

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