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Proceed with caution: With enrollment drops, states are looking to hold district budgets harmless

BY debraabritt
Edunomics Lab Logo

Hannah Jarmolowski and Marguerite Roza
February 26, 2021

Because states typically fund districts based on student counts, districts reporting shrinking enrollment worry about shrinking dollars as well. The seemingly obvious quick fix is for states to hold districts financially harmless for some or all of their enrollment loss. But states have many factors to weigh when deciding whether or how to go down the “hold harmless” path, and state-by-state context matters.

This brief explores some of those considerations. It also includes a list of states that have added or are considering new hold harmless provisions in response to pandemic-driven enrollment losses, as well as states that already had existing policies.


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