Beaumont ISD called ‘fiscally disadvantaged’

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In the Education Law Center’s researcher-generated “Is School Funding Fair? America’s Most Fiscally Disadvantaged School Districts” second edition report released this month, authors Bruce Baker, Theresa Luhm, Monete Johnson and David G. Sciarra compiled a list of the nation’s most fiscally disadvantaged schools. Only one Texas school district made the list – Beaumont ISD.

“This report identifies the most fiscally disadvantaged school districts in the country — those with higher-than-average student needs in their labor-market location and lower-than-average resources when state and local revenues are combined,” the authors note. “This report is a companion to ‘Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card’ (NRC), in which we evaluate and compare the extent to which state finance systems ensure equality of educational opportunity for all children, regardless of background, family income, place of residence or school location. The NRC shows that both the overall level of state funding and the extent to which states provide additional resources to districts with higher concentrations of children in poverty vary widely.”

The panel was able to determine a list of 47 “most fiscally disadvantaged districts in the country,” attributed to 20 states with districts enrolling 2,000 or more students. The highest number of districts considered fiscally disadvantaged was concentrated in California, with Pennsylvania and Illinois also posting multiple districts to the report. 

“This mix of fiscally disadvantaged school districts arrayed across the country underscore the absence of a coherent and fair approach to financing state public education systems,” the authors concluded. “Many districts – especially urban, inner suburban and rural, serving very high-need student populations – continue to struggle from a lack of sufficient funding, which makes it impossible to provide all students with the opportunity for a high quality education.

“This does not happen by accident.”

The Education Law Center is a public education advocate in Pennsylvania. More of the report can be viewed at www.schoolfundingfairness.org.

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