Student Based Allocation2019-03-27T08:41:01+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.


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. Among those doling out the biggest chunk of dollars through SBA are California, the nation’s most populous state, and states like New Jersey, Colorado, Nevada and New York. But our research finds many states still have layers of rules and provisions that limit districts’ flexibility, create inequities among districts and hinder productivity.

Webinar: An Introduction to Student Based Allocation

Marguerite Roza November 2018 On November 20, 2018 Marguerite Roza hosted a webinar for district and community leaders interested in learning more about student based allocation (SBA) models (a.k.a. WSF or weighted student funding). She shared how student based allocation models work, why districts use SBA, what formulas look like and how to get started. Read...

Taking stock of California’s weighted student funding overhaul: What have districts done with their spending flexibility?

Marguerite Roza, Tim Coughlin and Laura Anderson Published December 2017 California in 2013 moved to drive more resources for students with higher needs, create more spending flexibility and let districts decide how to spend substantial new dollars by adopting a new watershed state finance policy, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Our December 2017 analysis examines financial...

Did districts concentrate new state money on highest-needs schools? Answer: Depends on the district.

Marguerite Roza, Tim Coughlin and Laura Anderson December 2017 California in 2013 implemented a watershed weighted student funding formula (WSF) that deployed substantial new funds to districts based on their counts of student types, while also stripping long-standing spending constraints on districts. The state finance formula (the Local Control Funding Formula or LCFF) specifically boosted allocations to...

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