School Finance:

Options for Improving Measures of Effort and Equity in Title I

HEHS-96-142: Published: Aug 30, 1996. Publicly Released: Aug 30, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the measures of equity and effort included in the Title I Education Finance Incentive Program, focusing on: (1) several options for improving these measures; (2) the characteristics of states with higher levels of equity and effort; and (3) alternative ways of using these measures in allocating title I funds.

GAO found that: (1) the Education Finance Incentive Program's definition of effort does not include a comprehensive measure of states' funding capacity, penalizes states with a high proportion of school-age children, and provides no incentive for low-effort states to increase their effort in funding elementary and secondary education; (2) the title I definition of equity excludes a comprehensive measure of the differences in students' needs among school districts and the differences in purchasing power among districts; (3) adjustments to the effort factor should include using states' total taxable resources in establishing the states' education funding capacity and eliminating the bias against low-effort states; (4) adjustments to the equity factor should include rewarding states for increasing their level of equity in education spending and considering more fully the differences in educating higher-needs students; and (5) the allocation of title I funds should be based on the number of children in poverty rather than on the states' total number of school-age children.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Matters for Congressional Consideration

    Matter: If Congress decides to fund the title I Education Finance Incentive Program, it may want to improve the effort and equity measures and the way they are used in the allocation formula by adjusting the equity factor for differences in the cost of educational services across each state's districts.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not funded the program.

    Matter: If Congress decides to fund the title I Education Finance Incentive Program, it may want to improve the effort and equity measures and the way they are used in the allocation formula by expanding the needs component of the equity factor to include children with limited English proficiency and children with disabilities.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not funded the program.

    Matter: If Congress decides to fund the title I Education Finance Incentive Program, it may want to improve the effort and equity measures and the way they are used in the allocation formula by including in the effort and equity factors a bonus for improvement over time.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not funded the program.

    Matter: If Congress decides to fund the title I Education Finance Incentive Program, it may want to improve the effort and equity measures and the way they are used in the allocation formula by using, in the effort factor, a more comprehensive measure of states' revenue raising capacity, such as the total taxable resources indicator published by the Secretary of the Treasury.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not funded the program.

    Matter: If Congress decides to fund the title I Education Finance Incentive Program, it may want to improve the effort and equity measures and the way they are used in the allocation formula by modifying the effort factor to eliminate the penalty on states where a high percentage of the population is school-age.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not funded the program.

    Matter: If Congress decides to fund the title I Education Finance Incentive Program, it may want to improve the effort and equity measures and the way they are used in the allocation formula by reducing the floor on the effort factor so that low-effort states are rewarded for increased effort.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not funded the Education Finance Incentive Program.

    Matter: If Congress decides to fund the title I Education Finance Incentive Program, it may want to improve the effort and equity measures and the way they are used in the allocation formula by basing the allocation formula on the number of poor school-age children rather than all school age-children.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress has not funded the program.

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