The Role of Federal Funding in Public School Education

As an expert in the field of education funding, I have been asked numerous times about the role of the federal government in supporting public schools. Many people are surprised to learn that the federal government only provides 10.5% of funding for K-12 public education. The majority of funding comes from a combination of local and state sources. One of the main reasons why state funding can be difficult to understand is because it takes into account various factors and variables. The State Adequacy Objective (SAT) serves as a reference base, and multipliers are applied to the weighted average of daily attendance (WADA) to determine state support.

These multipliers include the dollar value modifier (DVM) and the local effort, which are used to calculate the total state funding for a district. The adjusted number of students served by a school district is based on these multipliers and the WADA. The WADA is calculated by taking into account data from both the regular school year and summer school (if applicable). It measures the number of students who attended school based on the number of hours they spent in school. This is important because it determines if schools will receive additional funding for students who fall under certain categories, such as Free or Reduced Lunch (FRL), Individualized Education Programs (IEP), or English Language Programs (ELP).If a district's adjusted number of students in these categories is higher than their actual number, each student who exceeds the adjusted number will be weighted as additional students for per-student funding purposes.

This total number of weighted students served by a district is known as the Adjusted Multiplier Average (AMA).According to data from the U. S. Department of Education, federal funding only accounts for about 8% of total funding for American public schools. The remaining balance is financed by state and local governments.

Each state has its own way of allocating funds for education, which is determined by their constitutions and proposals, as well as the officials in charge. The National Conference of State Legislatures highlights the important role that states play in providing structure, equality, fiscal responsibility, stability, and support to their public education systems. However, each state varies in the level of support they provide to schools, depending on the legislation in place. Funding formulas are used to determine whether school expenses will come from state or local governments, such as counties, cities, or school districts themselves. As Jonathan Kozol mentions in his book, there are various factors that can influence the allocation of funds for schools. These include racial inequality, school infrastructure, and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, this means that schools located in low-income areas often face challenges when it comes to funding and performance measures. The current funding model has also created a significant disparity between schools in different parts of the same state. This is because income and tax revenues can vary greatly from district to district. In fact, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service, at least 35 states have a base level of funding per student that all school districts receive. This highlights the need for a more equitable and appropriate approach to school funding. Overall, while federal funding plays a smaller role in supporting public schools compared to state and local funding, it still supports important programs such as Title I, IDEA, and the Child Nutrition Act.

Public charter schools also receive federal funding through grants from the Department of Education's Charter School Program. In conclusion, understanding the federal funding for public school education is crucial for anyone involved in the education system. As an expert in this field, I believe that there is a need for a more equitable and appropriate approach to funding, in order to ensure that all students have access to a quality education.