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Public Education Funding Mechanisms in Other States (Office of Legislative Research)

Jan 18, 2017

This research report from the Connecticut General Assembly's Office of Legislative Research examines funding formulas for public education used by other states, and provides several examples. The report uses research from the Education Commission of the States, a nonpartisan organization created by states to track state policy trends, translate academic research, and provide unbiased evidence about education topics. According to the Commission, there are three primary types of public education funding formulas: (1) foundation programs, (2) resource allocation systems, and (3) a hybrid of the two.

Foundation programs use pupil counts with weighted adjustments for student needs to arrive at a per-pupil cost for public education. States then determine how to split this cost with towns using different town wealth measures (e.g., property value, personal income, or a mix of the two).

Although not faithfully followed, Connecticut’s Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant formula can be classified as a “foundation” formula. Foundation formulas are the most common public school funding mechanisms used by states. Nearly three-quarters of the states use foundation models, according to the Education Commission of the States.


Sullivan, M. (2017). Public Education Funding Mechanisms in Other States (2017-R-0002). Hartford, CT: Office of Legislative Research. Retrieved from


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