The Hechinger Report reveals that over the past decade the funding gap between schools in rich and poor communities has reached 44 percent since 2001-2002. The federal Department of Education points out that the “richest 25 percent of school districts receive 15.6 percent more funds from state and local governments per student than the poorest 25 percent of school districts.” This equates to a national funding gap of $1,500 per student.
Part of the problem is the school funding system. Local property taxes make up a district ‘s budget. States have struggled to recover funding to pre-recession levels. Once federal funding is factored in, almost all of the funding gaps disappear. Rather than act as a supplement, federal dollars are being used to equalize “an unfair playing field set by state and local dollars.”
“All of these reports are showing, in different ways, that our system for funding education, where states control 90 percent of the funding, is broken and dysfunctional,” said David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center.