The Complex World of Public School Funding in the United States: An Expert's Perspective

As an expert in the field of education, I have spent years studying and analyzing the complex world of public school funding in the United States. It is a topic that is often misunderstood and shrouded in confusion, but it is crucial to understand how our schools are funded in order to ensure that all students receive a quality education. Public schools in the United States offer free education from kindergarten to twelfth grade, but this education is not free for the government. In fact, it is paid for by a combination of property taxes and general taxes collected by the federal government. While the federal government provides about 8% of funding for local schools, the majority of funding comes from local and state governments.

According to Education Week, public school funding comes from a variety of sources at the local, state, and federal levels.

State resources

make up approximately 48% of a school's budget, which includes income taxes, sales taxes, and fees. Another 44% is provided locally through property taxes paid by homeowners in the area. The remaining 8% comes from federal sources, with an emphasis on grants for specific programs and services for students who need them. However, the question of how US schools are funded does not have a simple answer. The distribution of funds is carefully managed in order to maintain control of schools at the local level, rather than at the national level.

This has been a long-standing tradition in America, but it has also led to challenges when state budgets are cut. Unfortunately, these cuts often come at the expense of school-age children, particularly those from low-income families and children of color. As a result, schools are forced to make difficult decisions and often have to eliminate important resources and programs.


is one of the most commonly used indicators for measuring school funding. It measures whether the amount of money collected and spent per student is enough to achieve a certain level of achievement.

This is often used as a reference for measuring student performance and educational outcomes. However, in many low-income states and districts, facilities are literally falling apart, highlighting the dire situation that many schools are facing. Each state has its own unique formula for determining how money is raised for elementary and secondary education, as well as how much each school district receives in a given school year. Public charter schools, which are also funded by state and local governments, can also receive federal funding through grants from the Department of Education's Charter School Program. In order to establish a solid, stable, and coherent school funding plan that supports all children, investments must be commensurate with the magnitude of the problems and the social and economic importance of the sector. The period after 1990, often referred to as the “era of adequacy,” saw an increase in state court decisions that resulted in higher funding for public schools.

This provided researchers with an opportunity to study the overall impact of these substantial increases and compare them to student outcomes in states that did not experience them. Private income sources for schools include private tuition, individual transportation expenses, food services (excluding federal reimbursements), district activities, textbook revenues, and summer school revenues. While federal funding for public schools plays a smaller role, it supports important programs such as Title I, IDEA, and the Child Nutrition Act. However, in some states that have been hit hard by budget cuts, such as Arizona, North Carolina, and Oklahoma, it has become increasingly difficult for schools to recover from these cuts due to significant reductions in state income tax rates.