A.E. Schwartz presentation, Research Partnership for NYC Schools Why Do Some Schools Get More and Others Less?An Examination of School-Level Funding in New York City Amy Ellen Schwartz New York University Ross Rubenstein Syracuse University Leanna Stiefel New York University October 5, 2007 http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/iesp/
In 2003-2004, the typical NYC elementary school budget was roughly $13,000 per pupil • But: • some schools received as little as $9,000. • others more than $15,000. • Why? • Differences in the needs of students? • Differences in costs? • Or is it just unfair and inefficient?
The Answer Matters • If differences are driven by differences in the needs of students then they may be both fair and efficient. • If they aren’t, then redistributing resources will be critical for improving equity and can improve student performance.
The Time is Ripe • NCLB reauthorization focuses attention on resources, outcomes and accountability at the school level. • CFE vs. New York State brings similar focus and additional state funds to NYC schools. • NYCDOE is reforming their budget allocation processes in their Fair Student Funding (FSF) Initiative.
Outline of Talk • Background on School Resource Allocation • Analyses of School Spending in New York City • Implications for Policy
Four Lessons from Prior Research • Disparities in spending across schools within a district are common. • Large districts are more likely to have large disparities. • Schools with poorer children have less experienced, less educated and less expensive teachers. • School “budgets” largely reflect position-based formulas and teacher sorting.
Where does the money come from? • City, State and Federal funds. • In 2003-4 the average elementary school budget was: • Almost 80% City Taxes and State Operating Aid. • About 7% from the Federal Title I program that targets high poverty schools • About 13% from myriad categorical grant programs.
Allocation Basics - Teachers • Teacher positions are allocated based upon: • Enrollment • Class size maximums (depends on grade level) • e.g., 100 first grade students would mean 5 teachers if the district class size max is 20. • Salaries are determined by district schedule and money “budgeted” to the school depending upon the teachers hired.
How Does Budgeting Teacher Positions Affect School budgets? • Schools with higher paid teachers get funding to cover those positions; schools with lower-paid teachers do not receive similar amounts. • Position-based budgeting concentrates experienced teachers in schools where needs are lower. • Higher staff turnover concentrates new teachers in low-performing schools, meaning they have lower budgets.
Advanced Resource Allocation • Overhead allocations for administration and building services • Specialized formulas target students with special needs. E.g. Poor, English Language Learners, Learning Disabilities • Targeted funds based upon school characteristics (e.g., school size) or special programs. • “Hold Harmless” provisions limit change.
Empirical Analyses • Examine the distribution of funding across schools • By source (taxes and state aid, Title I) • By grade level (elementary vs middle) • Examine changes over time • Goal is to shed light on the factors that drive disparities and provide a benchmark to gauge the impact of policy changes.
Data • NYC Department of Education, Annual School Reports and School-Based Expenditure Reports, 2000-01 to 2003-04 • School-level spending variables by source of funds • Key school-level variables on student/school needs: • Eligible for free lunch • Limited English proficient • Enrollment (school size) • Resource room and special education • Recent immigrant • Student performance – percent level 1 fourth and eighth grade • Sample: N = 911 in 2003-04
Five Measures of Resources 1) Total spending per pupil 2) General Education Funding per pupil (includes PTSE funds) 3) Tax levy and state operating aid - Gen Ed 4) Title I – Gen Ed 5) Other – Gen Ed
Total Spending Gen Ed Spending Tax Levy and State Operating Aid Other Revenues Title I Revenues
Regression Analyses Describe the Determinants of Spending • First using only school and student characteristics for 2003-04 (Cross-sectional) • Including Pct Poor, LEP, PTSE and school size • Next examining change over time • Between 2002-03 and 2003-04 (Short) • Between 2000-01 and 2003-04 (Long)
Key Results • Funding reflects student need • i.e., a 1% point increase in the pct. PTSE is associated with $69 more in funding per pupil • Higher poverty means more Title I and Other funds; less Tax Levy/Operating Aid. • Change matters but the response is sluggish. • Last year’s funding is an excellent predictor of this year’s funding • Much variation is unexplained.
Weighted Student Funding (WSF)? • Resources “follow the student.” • Allocates dollars and not positions. • Amount depends upon student needs (characteristics) with higher “weights” given to students with greater needs. • Transparent targeting of resources • Effectively reduce unexplained variation.
Cautions • No adjustments for concentration • Economies/diseconomies of scale ignored • Transparent incentives may have unintended consequences. • Getting weights right is critical • Evidence base is thin. • Rapid change can be difficult • Implications for teachers.
Agenda for Further Research • We need to know the cost of student needs. • Should there be a weight for immigrants? • For student mobility? • We need to understand (dis)economies of scale. • We should learn from experience: • Does Title I money get where it’s intended and does it improve student performance? • What was the impact of the recent changes in seniority transfer rules? • Evaluation of FSF has to start now – to study implementation and school responses.