Funding Adequacy, Equity and Transparency

Afton provides advisory and analytical services that improve the potential for fiscal adequacy, equity, and transparency within education funding structures. A primary goal of this work is to evaluate the level of funding schools need to equitably serve all learners, and then putting in place the policies and systems to support this. We do this work at all levels, including state-level allocations to Local Education Agencies and their funding allocations to schools. Fiscal transparency is also a key focus, especially in light of ESSA’s financial transparency requirement.

Areas of Expertise

Funding Adequacy, Equity and Transparency

Funding Formula Policy & Analysis

At Afton, we believe that adequate and equitable funding is a necessary condition for improving academic outcomes. Additionally, it is not only important that funding be equitable, but that the processes and results of funding systems are transparent to all stakeholders. Afton supports states and districts seeking to create, improve, or implement funding formulas toward the goals of equity and transparency.

School-level Spending Analysis

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires all State Education Agencies to report school-level spending for all schools in their state. This is a significant step forward for financial transparency. We also believe this data can be extremely powerful in advancing goals of adequacy and equity. Afton supports SEAs and LEAs in developing their approaches to meeting these requirements in a meaningful way, in analyzing these data for useful insights toward strategic goals, and in effectively communicating these data. 

Fiscal Implications of School Choice

Implementation of school choice options, particularly authorization of charter schools, can raise questions about the financial impact to districts and the equity of funding to all schools. There is a pervasive perception that there is a negative financial impact to a school district when a new charter opens, inhibiting a state or district’s ability to otherwise open and/or support quality public schools, irrespective of operator type. At Afton, we work with districts and charter sectors – often together – seeking to provide evidence-based answers to these polarizing questions:
• Why does this financial perception exist?
• Is it just perceived, or is this reality?
• If it is real, what are the reasons, and what can be done about it to ensure fairness and sustainability in the future?

Adequacy Studies

Funding Adequacy Studies are critical tools to understand total funding needed for high quality, equitable education. Understanding the cost of adequacy positions system leaders with the direction they need in order to guide policy and investment decisions in line with a long-term funding vision. Afterall, if you don’t know where you’re trying to go, you can’t get there! Ultimately, these studies should inform funding mechanisms that ensure distribution of funding aligned with priorities. Afton can provide these services across K12 and Early Childhood systems.