K-12 Funding Basics: Understanding Government Funding

The next few weeks on VAR connection will be dedicated to a series on K-12 funding in the United States. This week we are breaking down K-12 Government funding for public schools, how it is given, and how it is spent. Stay tuned to learn more about grants, COVID-19 relief funding, and so much more! 

money pink coins pig

A typical public school relies on funding from federal, state, and local government in order to provide the best education possible for their students. While the final breakdown of where funding comes from will look different for every school, the general breakdown is 8% from the federal government, 47% from the state, and 45% from local government. A white paper published by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA)  goes on to explain that this funding primarily is spent on yearly recurring expenses such as staffing and bills, and often rely on grants for additional funding.     https://www.asha.org/Advocacy/schoolfundadv/Overview-of-Funding-For-Pre-K-12-Education/

Federal – 8%

Federal funding comes from a portion of the federal budget that is set aside for education. This money is given to schools and intended for specific purposes. Often the funding is meant to support students that do not have access to resources and may be missing parental support, and helps fill gaps in schools that cannot meet the requirements of ESSA with just state and local funding.

State – 47%

State and local funding make up the bulk of school’s budget, but the kinds of funding and balance can vary greatly from state to state. State funding is not typically divided evenly between schools. Most often it is split up, with the bulk of funding going to areas that do not see a lot of financial funding from their local municipality. See how your state’s spending stacks up here.

Local – 45%

Local funding is primarily based on property taxes that citizens pay. Obviously, this can lead to some inequity when it comes to funding in lower income areas. State funding is often relied on more heavily in these lower income areas to ensure that schools can meet requirements set by the no child left behind act. Urban.org has a great interactive infographic  that illustrates this concept and can tell you more about what this breakdown looks like in your state.

On top of this funding, schools typically rely on grants to supplement their budget and get new tools and technology. Curious to know more about grants? Tune in next week!

What else do you want to learn about funding and budgets in schools? Let us know in the comments!

Sources https://www.aasa.org/uploadedFiles/Policy_and_Advocacy/files/SchoolBudgetBriefFINAL.pdf, https://www.asha.org/Advocacy/schoolfundadv/Overview-of-Funding-For-Pre-K-12-Education/, https://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget20/summary/20summary.pdf, https://www2.ed.gov/programs/titleiparta/index.html, https://www.ecs.org/50-state-comparison-k-12-funding/, https://apps.urban.org/features/funding-formulas/, https://www.ed.gov/

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