Funding Equity & Fiscal Transparency

Afton provides advisory and analytical services that improve the potential for fiscal equity and transparency within state and local public education funding structures. This work often includes in-district funding allocation analyses by school and student need.

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (“ESSA”), funding equity and fiscal transparency are highlighted nationally. While some districts have transitioned to budgeting based on student needs, Weighted Student Funding trials authorized through ESSA will incorporate federal dollars with state and local funding in one clear funding formula, potentially providing even more transparency. Additionally, ESSA requires states and districts to report per pupil funding on school-level basis in report cards. Afton believes that when done efficiently and effectively, this information will provide a valuable insight into how equitably our schools are funded, and shed light on important opportunities to improve gaps. We are looking forward to supporting states and districts in meeting these ESSA goals in an effort to provide funding equity and transparency.

Areas of Expertise

Funding Equity & Fiscal Transparency

Funding Formulas

At Afton, we believe that equitable funding is necessary not only for academic outcomes for all students, but is also a prerequisite for the success of many other strategic initiatives including school choice and accountability systems. 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.

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. We often hear that charter growth is “harming” the respective school district in which those charters operate – that school districts cannot afford more charter schools even if they are schools of high quality. 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?