Funded is the first interactive web tool to aggregate and standardize information regarding each state’s education funding laws. The intent of this site is to enable better state-to-state comparisons and provide easy access to detailed information related to the funding policies of all 50 states.
In almost every state, public education is funded based on a formula that calculates how much the state expects each school district to need for the year. In most states, the formula starts with a "base amount," which represents the assumed cost of educating a student with no special needs or disadvantages. Many funding formulas then fund specific students at levels greater than the base to account for their specific needs and community characteristics. The total amount necessary for all of a district’s students becomes that district’s formula amount. In some states, however, school districts are funded based on their estimated staff and program costs rather than on their student and/or community demographics.
Funded displays information related to the most common elements of state funding formulas on national maps and state pages, organized by the general categories below. Explore the tool using the navigation bar above to see at-a-glance national maps, detailed state comparisons, and downloadable reports.
The Basics of Funding
There are three general types of state funding formulas: those that appropriate funds based on the characteristics of students; those that fund based on a calculation of resources needed by schools; and those that fund schools based on the programs that they run. In student-based formulas, there is a base amount, which represents the assumed cost of educating a student with no special needs or disadvantages. Any formula type may include additional funding for certain categories of students. In the sections in this category, explore each state’s funding formula overview and learn its base amount, if applicable.
Many state formulas take into consideration the costs necessary to educate children with additional needs. Most commonly, English-language learners, students with disabilities, and students from low-income families are funded at levels above the base. Districts may also receive funding based on the concentration of low-income students they serve. Some states also provide additional resources for students in certain grade levels, or those in certain programs, like gifted education and career and technical education. States may also provide additional resources to school districts serving a small number of students and/or those that are considered rural or remote. Explore how state formulas consider student and community characteristics in the sections in this category.
In almost all states, the funding formula includes a cost-sharing arrangement with local school districts, expecting districts to pay part of their own formula amounts, with the balance paid as state aid. The expected local contribution may be based on a variety of factors, most often a measure of local property wealth. Depending on state laws, districts may be required to raise exactly this amount from local tax sources, or they may have latitude to raise less or more, from property taxes and from other sources. In the sections in this category, explore how states share the responsibility for funding education with local school districts, and what authority districts have to fund schools at different levels from a variety of tax sources.