Title I Weighted Grants Skewed Toward Largest Districts: Per Pupil Funding Varies Sharply by District Size
Last Updated: April 16, 2007
Since 2002, some of the federal funds provided to local school districts under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act have been distributed through "weighted" grant formulas intended to better target funding to districts with the highest concentrations of poverty. While this is a worthy purpose, these weighted grant formulas have also produced some perverse effects.
Under the weighted grants:
- Support for a Title I student in a large school district is greater than the support for a Title I student in a smaller district with the same poverty rate and the same cost of education.
- Support for Title I students who attend one large district is greater than the support for the same number of poor students who are dispersed in many smaller districts, even though the smaller districts have the same poverty rate and the same cost of education as the large district.
- Support for a Title I student in a larger district with less poverty is greater than the support for a Title I student in smaller district with more poverty.
These effects are caused by a provision in both the Targeted Grant Program and the Educational Finance Incentive Grant Program that weights the student count used to determine a school district's share of the Title I funds. Under this provision, a district's Title I student count can be calculated using either the percentage of students or the absolute number of students who are Title I eligible. The option of using the number weighting system rather than the percentage weighting system provides very large districts with higher per pupil benefits at the expense of all smaller districts.
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Related Tags: Income Related Issues
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