Funded: State Policy Analysis

A Detailed Look at Each State's Funding Policies

Below, see summaries of the state’s education funding policy in each issue area. Click the Expand icon next to any summary to see more detail, if available, about that state’s policy regarding that issue area. Click the Citation icon
next to any summary to see the sources of the information regarding that issue area.
Funding Basics
Formula Type

Alabama has a primarily resource-based formula. It determines the cost of delivering education in a district based on the cost of the resources, such as staff salaries and course materials, required to do so.  

Services for students with disabilities are funded through a program-specific allocation.  Alabama does not provide supplemental funding to cover the additional cost of educating other specific categories of students, though both career and technical education programs and specific grade levels are considered in the allocation of funding for staff costs.


Source 1

Base Amount

The state of Alabama uses a resource-based funding formula and therefore does not use a base per-student amount as the basis for its funding.

Expected Local Share

Alabama expects school districts to contribute revenue to the funding of public schools. The amount each district is expected to raise for its education costs is based on its property values: each district is expected to contribute $10.00 for every thousand dollars of assessed local property wealth for the purpose of funding its schools.

Once the state calculates the total amount of funding necessary to educate students within a district, it subtracts the expected local contribution and provides the difference in the form of state education aid.  However, school districts in Alabama that choose to do so may raise less or more money locally than the expected amount.


Source 1

Student Characteristics
Grade Level

Alabama provides different levels of funding for students in different grade levels.  It does so through its resource-based formula by specifying different student-to-teacher ratios for four different grade spans, and providing funding for teacher positions accordingly.

The state assigns a student-to-teacher ratio of 14.2 to 1 for grades K-3; 21.85 to 1 for grades 4-6; 20.2 to 1 for grades 7-8; and 18.45 to 1 for grades 9-12. These ratios determine the number of teaching units to which a district is entitled.

Principals, assistant principals, and guidance counselors are also assigned to elementary schools in accordance with different student-to-staff ratios than they are to middle and high schools.    Once all staff units are calculated for a district, with grade-level variation taken into account, the units are converted into dollar amounts using a salary matrix that considers staff training and experience.  These amounts form the basis of districts’ state education funding.


Source 1

English-Language Learner

Alabama does not provide increased funding for English language learners.

Student Poverty

Alabama does not provide increased funding for students from low-income households.

Special Education

Alabama funds special education using a census-based system, assuming that a set percentage of students in each district will require special education services and using each district’s full enrollment count to determine the amount of special education funding required.

This is done within the framework of the state’s broader education funding system, which distributes most of the state money in the form of funded teacher units. To account for the greater costs associated with educating special education students, Alabama assumes that 5% of students in each district will require special education services, and multiplies that 5% of enrollment by 2.5 in the student count that is used to generate teacher units.


Source 1


Alabama does not provide additional resources for gifted and talented students.

Career and Technical Education

Alabama provides specific funding for career and technical education (CTE) programs. It does so in three ways: by applying multipliers to inflate the student count used to generate funding for secondary staff units; by funding salaries for dedicated CTE program staff; and through a program-specific allocation.

To account for CTE program costs, the state applies a multiplier of 1.4 to 7.4% of each district’s seventh- and eighth-grade enrollment and a multiplier of 2.0 to 16.5% of each district’s high school enrollment. This generates additional staff funding that districts may use for CTE programs. The state also funds Career Technical Education Directors and Career Technical Education Counselors for each school district, and provides separate funding for CTE program operations and maintenance.

In FY2016, the state allocated $5 million for CTE program operations and maintenance.


Source 1
Source 2

Community Characteristics
District Poverty

Alabama does not provide increased funding based on the concentration of students from low-income households in a particular district.

Sparsity and/or Small Size

Alabama does not provide increased funding for sparse districts or small schools.