Number Weighting in a One-Page Handout

Last Updated: March 14, 2011

This article appeared in the March 2011 Rural Policy Matters.

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Most school districts and millions of children are affected by serious inequities in the way the federal Title I program distributes funding to school districts to support the education of very low-income children. (Visit the Formula Fairness Campaign website for more information.)

But the reasons for this inequity can be a little hard to explain. They have to do with the set of formulas that govern how Title I funding is distributed among school districts.

Beginning in 2002, the formulas began to distribute a larger portion of Title I funding to districts with large numbers of low-income children than to districts with large percentages of low-income children. This is called “number-weighting” in the formulas, and it’s unfair to smaller districts, especially smaller districts with high poverty rates.

Your school district is probably losing Title I funding that it would receive if Title I funding were distributed according to the percentage of low-income children, rather than the number of low-income children. (Visit the Formula Fairness Campaign website to find out exactly how your district is faring under these formulas.)

Now there’s a handy one-page tool to explain number-weighting. Click here to download the PDF and share it with members of your school board and community.

Read more from the March 2011 Rural Policy Matters.