District Resource Allocation
Typically, local, state and federal money flows to districts, which then use a formula to divvy up resources across their schools. A growing number of districts use a student-based allocation formula (or SBA) to distribute at least some portion of their total funds. In SBA, districts allocate dollars based on the needs of designated student types in a school—such as students who are English language learners—toward better matching a school’s resources to a school’s needs based on the mix of students in the building. But our research on SBA implementation shows that even districts moving toward SBA often have ingrained practices, such as subsidies for small schools or special programs, that can make allocations less equitable and transparent.
In this series of 30-minute webinars, Marguerite Roza shares what we are learning as the financial outlook for public education evolves and implications for states and districts as they make financial plans for the coming weeks and year.
Straight Talk In Financially Uncertain Times: How District Leaders Can Communicate About The Messy Financial Landscape Coming Their Way
In this guest blog post, Laura Anderson and Marguerite Roza share how district leaders can best communicate financial decisions to their staff and communities in order to build trust.
In this Education Next article, Marguerite Roza and Laura Anderson share what we’re learning from early explorations of the data and the opportunities it provides for education leaders.
In this Brookings Chalkboard blog, Marguerite Roza discusses what a larger state role in education funding means for districts during an economic downturn.
By going all-in on staffing, we’ve crowded out other potential investments that can positively impact student learning. In this paper, Marguerite Roza writes that competing strategies should be viewed through the lens of which can do the most for students with the limited dollars at hand.
Education spending always involves choices, and smart choices require understanding value for the dollar. This paper uses the "would you rather" exercise to explore tradeoffs in school spending and think through the value of various cost-equivalent investments.
Resource allocation reviews (RARs) in districts that serve low-performing schools offer a new opportunity to examine the connection between resource allocation and academic outcomes. This sample data report is an example of what state leaders can assemble and share with district leaders.
This webinar explores connections and opportunities with ESSA's financial transparency requirement, the new Supplement-not-Supplant requirement for a district “resource allocation methodology” and “resource allocation reviews,” and what each means for states and districts.
As part of a three-year study funded by Institute of Education Sciences, Edunomics Lab researchers assembled this dataset with base-level knowledge needed to categorize and test types of weighted student funding models.
In this blog, Marguerite Roza discusses initial findings from our IES-funded research study that seeks to document the range of WSF formulas and detail how they are being implemented in school systems around the nation.
In this Brookings Chalkboard blog post, Marguerite Roza discusses new U.S. Department of Education guidance on monitoring the “supplement-not-supplant” (SNS) provision of Title I.
In this commentary, Marguerite Roza writes that districts have a chance to strategically prepare for the inevitable economic downturn by reducing recurring costs and resisting more hiring; shifting budget choices to schools, allowing them to protect what matters most; and building trust around money and engaging community in tradeoffs.
Designed for district and community leaders, this webinar shares how student-based allocation (SBA) works, why districts use SBA, what SBA formulas look like, and what steps and resources districts can take and tap to move toward SBA.
Taking stock of California’s weighted student funding overhaul: What have districts done with their spending flexibility?
In 2013 California adopted the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) to drive more resources to students with higher needs, create more spending flexibility, and let districts decide how to spend substantial new dollars. Our analysis examines financial data from nearly all California school systems to clarify how their spending choices changed in the first three years of the new state funding law.
Did districts concentrate new state money on highest-needs schools? Answer: Depends on the district.
Our analysis of eight districts takes a first look at whether CA districts did, under LCFF, allocate a larger share of their new funds to their highest-needs schools.
As California’s LCFF enters Year 5 of implementation, this brief analyzes whether we are seeing an improved relationship between spending and outcomes.
In 2013, California adopted the Local Control Funding Formula, shifting control over spending decisions from the state legislature to local school districts and eliminating many state-imposed spending rules. This three-part series analyzes early impacts of the LCFF, one of the nation’s largest weighted student funding (WSF) overhauls to date.
This webinar provides an overview of the financial transparency requirement in the Every Student Succeeds Act, highlight lessons learned from states working toward meeting the requirement, and provide a district lens for thinking about the opportunities this new data can provide.
These five Rapid Response briefs model the costs of productivity improvements in K-12 education, including changes in staffing ratios, the impact of late-career teacher pay raises on pension debt, and paying the best teachers more to teach more students.
This brief shows how high-minority schools receive fewer dollars in pension wealth than low-minority schools within the same district, and makes the case for pension dollars to be more transparent and included in discussions around K-12 spending equity.
In this paper we examine both the degree to which pay systems for teachers are more heavily back-loaded than for many other professions and the ramifications of this steep salary curve for teachers, states and school districts.
In this oped Marguerite Roza describes one critical issue underlying the fall 2015 Seattle Public Schools teachers' strike that neither the Seattle School District nor the Seattle Education Association.
This analysis shows how a longer work year could increase teachers’ annual salaries and improve student outcomes.
In this brief on the landmark federal law’s 50th anniversary, we offer five key principles to help policymakers revise Title I so that it fulfills its promise of augmenting funding for poor students.
In this analysis we find how allowing our best teachers to teach more students in lieu of hiring additional staff could offer significant teacher bonuses. Findings are modeled state-by-state.
In this paper we model the impacts of late-term raises on teacher pension obligations showing that on average each dollar raise triggers $10 to $16 in new taxpayer obligations and provide suggestions to mitigate such impacts while improving incentives for early and mid career teachers.
In this op-ed, we argue that when the district decides what positions to fund in a school—rather than the school being empowered to decide based on its community priorities—it destroys goodwill and trust in the school system.
This two-page brief outlines how Denver Public Schools has steadily increased the amount of district funds funneled through the student based allocation formula the school system adopted in 2008. In fiscal 2014, the district allocated $3235 million, or approximately 38 percent, of its $865 million budget.
Part of our ongoing study of budgets in systems implementing student based allocation, in this four-page brief we analyze 12 district budgets and find that the systems allocate roughly 24 to 42 percent of their funds through an SBA formula.
In this three-page brief, we analyze the share of district dollars Boston Public Schools funneled through its student based allocation formula, adopted in 2012. In fiscal 2014, the district allocated $3235 million, or approximately 38 percent, of its $865 million budget through the formula.
In this presentation at the annual Association for Education Finance and Policy conference, we share our findings that the percent of total funds allocated via student based allocation (%SBA) ranges from a low of 23 percent to a high of 45 percent among ten urban school districts studied.
In this presentation at the annual Association for Education Finance and Policy conference, we share our exploration and cost modeling of cost-neutral options to raise teacher pay and give more students access to the best teachers.
On January 29, 2014 Marguerite Roza shared risks and rewards that emerge when districts “decentralize” engagement around financial decisions to the school level with Portfolio School District Network members in Houston, TX.
VisionSBA provides education leaders with a unique outlook on spending by school level within a district, delivering insight into relative spending across schools adjusted for each school’s actual mix of students. This interactive tool developed by Marguerite Roza and Jim Simpkins answers the question: “How much does each school spend relative to all other schools in this district taking into account its particular mix of students?”
In this article published by The Atlantic, author Amanda Ripley draws on Marguerite Roza’s research as she describes the role of high school sports in the American education system, how current resource allocations favor sports over academics, and consequences as American students fall behind in international rankings.
This brief describes a common practice that inhibits both efficiency and productivity: funding students who do not actually attend school in funded districts and how this is often overlooked by state leaders.
In this chapter, Roza assesses the strengths and weaknesses of what remains of the old in education governance, scrutinizes how traditional governance forms are changing, and suggests how governing arrangements might be further altered to produce better educational outcomes for children.
This brief explains the need for student-based allocation to enable student choice and portable funding across schools within districts.
This study uses data from Seattle Public Schools to explore actual salary changes amidst rapid changes in economic context and the effect of the recession on teacher pay.
This brief examines the real numbers on the Chicago teachers contract costs.
This brief examines how Chicago teacher salaries compare in regional and national contexts.
While typical school district plans offer a one-size-fits-all package of benefits to employees, cafeteria plans allow employees to customize their benefits within a given cost, an option districts may want to consider.
The shift in authority from the local to the state level raises several critical questions. In this paper, the authors suggest that the question should be “What obstacles prevent better connections between real dollars and valuable resources for students?”
This brief demonstrates how, contrary to common worry, closing Title I's "comparability provision" loophole would not force districts to mandatorily reassign teachers.
This paper examines how calculating the per unit costs of what schools or districts can deliver can provide the best insight into the implications of all that spending.
This brief details why K-12 school districts that lay off personnel according to seniority cause disproportionate damage to their programs and students than if layoffs were determined on a seniority-neutral basis.
This study examines Houston ISD and Cincinnati Public Schools, providing evidence that student-weighted allocation can be a means toward greater resource equity among schools within districts.
Dr. Roza's analysis demonstrates that, despite district bookkeeping practices that make funding across schools within the same district appear relatively comparable, substantially less money is spent in high-poverty and high-minority schools.
The authors suggest that weighed student funding would show exactly where the money is going and foster transparency and accountability for performance, thereby potentially closing the gaps in local public service quality between the privileged and the disadvantaged.
A Cost Allocation Model for Shared District Resources: A Means for Comparing Spending Across Schools
It can be difficult to assess how resources are distributed between schools, and whether every school is afforded the same opportunities to meet its educational goals. This paper addresses one key driver of spending variation between schools: shared district resources.
This report traces Cincinnati Public Schools' process of moving to a system of student based budgeting: funding children rather than staff members, and weighting the funding according to schools and students' needs.
This activity guides participants through reading and understanding district budgets.