Florida earns high marks for education funding equity
redefinED | By redefinED Staff | August 12, 2021
A new study from a personal finance website based in Washington, D.C., has ranked Florida fifth in the nation in terms of equitability of district education funding based on two metrics: average household income and expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools per pupil.
In a review of 12,927 school districts, WalletHub named Iowa the state with the most equitable school districts. Other states in the top 10 were North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana, West Virginia, Mississippi, Minnesota, South Dakota and Kansas.
States in the bottom five were Illinois, Montana, California and Idaho, with New York in last place.
While Florida earned high marks overall, scores for individual school districts within the state varied. Duval County came out on top based on a $9,116 per-pupil expenditure. Monroe County scored the lowest, based on a $13,904 per-pupil expenditure.
Serving as a departure for the study was its authors’ contention that states that provide equitable funding to all school districts can help prevent poor students from having lower graduation rates, lower rates of pursuing higher education and smaller future income than their wealthy peers.
“If we make sure that every school district has equitable funding, students in less affluent communities will have a level playing field with students in wealthy districts. As a result, their graduation rates will increase, as will their likelihood to pursue higher education and earn larger incomes,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.