Poor White School Districts Receive Better Funding than Poor Minority Districts

Tuesday, October 06, 2015
(photo: J Pat Carter, AP)

Disparities in funding for school districts are not just a product of income level of local residents, according to a new study that says race appears to play a role in how tax dollars are distributed to public schools.


Data scientist David Mosenkis looked at funding for 500 school districts in Pennsylvania and discovered districts with more minorities got less funding than those with more white students, even when accounting for income levels.


“If you color code the districts based on their racial composition you see this very stark breakdown. At any given poverty level, districts that have a higher proportion of white students get substantially higher funding than districts that have more minority students,” Mosenkis said, according to The Atlantic.


The Atlantic’s Gillian White explained this “means that no matter how rich or poor the district in question, funding gaps existed solely based on the racial composition of the school. Just the increased presence of minority students actually deflated a district’s funding level.”


Mosenkis’ research showed districts that “have a few more students of color get lower funding than the ones that are 100 percent or 95 percent white.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

The Data Are Damning: How Race Influences School Funding (by Gillian B. White, The Atlantic)

Did Budget Cuts Cause a 12-Year-Old to Die of Asthma? (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)


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