Resource Library

Powers in Numbers—Resource Inequality

Although the responsibility to provide public education rests with each state, school funding has historically been left up to local communities. This means resources for schools are, to varying degrees, tied to local wealth and invariably leave schools in low-income communities at a disadvantage. When state courts strike down state funding systems, generally, the remedy is that the state must guarantee equal access to education by providing some form of supplemental funding to schools in poorer neighborhoods to compensate for unequal local resources. EdBuild's analysis of school district revenues (adjusted for differences in cost of living around the country) finds that, even after court-ordered equitable funding measures, the majority of states are still failing to fund students in high-poverty districts at a level equal to or higher than their less needy peers.