EdBuild, which describes itself as a “non-profit bringing common sense to our school funding system,” has come out strongly against an amendment to the reauthorization of ESEA proffered by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). The Burr Amendment has been advertised as simplifying the distribution of federal state aid to economically-disadvantaged students, referred to as Title I funding. It would do so, according to reports, by sending less to states that spend lots per pupil and more to states that send less per pupil.
But, says EdBuild, the new formula doesn’t work out that way. In fact, “Alaska, Vermont, and Washington, DC, all towards the top of the list in per-pupil spending, are slated to receive even more money under the Burr amendment.”
And, “this means that, for this portion of Title I, it is specifically the high-spending states with an especially high number of students enrolled in poverty-dense districts that would lose the most money.”
In fact, says Edubuild, the states that would lose money under the Burr amendment share these characteristics:
- They spend, on a per-pupil basis, more than the national median.
- They serve a higher absolute number of students in poverty than national median.
- They serve an above-median percentage of children who are living and learning in dense-poverty districts (defined as those whose students are 80% FRL-eligible or higher, compared to those whose rate is 40% or greater).
So Sen. Burr’s simplification of Title I funding is, well, not so simple.
New Jersey note: according to the data here (and elsewhere) N.J. is the fourth-highest per-pupil spending state. N.Y. is first at $19,552, and then D.C., Alaska, and N.J. are all between $17.2K and $17.5K per pupil per year. Under the Burr Amendment, N.J. falls under EdBuild’s category of “top ten spenders who lose.”