The bar graph below shows average spending across a variety of categories: Administration, Instructional Leadership, Teachers (Regular Ed.), Professional Development, Materials & Technology, Guidance-Psych & Testing, Pupil Services, Operations & Maintenance, Health Ins. & Other, and SPED Teachers. The light blue bars reflect the numbers specified in the foundation budget, while the dark blue bars show actual spending.
When you select a wealth quintile at right, the information automatically updates to display average spending in just that quintile.
The term, "foundation budget" refers to the state education funding system, which basically works in the following way: 1) It identifies the actual cost of providing a quality education for children in each school district; 2) It determines how much the local community can reasonably contribute; and 3) It makes up the difference. When we refer to numbers from the "foundation budget", we mean basically step 1, the amount the state believes is necessary for quality education.
What is more, the foundation budget doesn't simply define a total allotment for every district, it sets specific amounts for different elements. What you'll see, from this tool, is that many districts end up spending far less on certain elementsRegular Ed. Teachers, Professional Development, and Materials & Technology, in particular than is specified in the foundation budget. That's because the money that might otherwise have gone towards these areas has been diverted to pay for things which the foundation budget doesn't adequately reflect: especially health insurance and special education.
Faced with such shortfalls, high-wealth districts can often draw on additional, local revenue. Lower-wealth districts, however, are generally unable to do so, and the consequence is that they spend less on resources that are critically important to the quality of education students receive.
For further details, you can read our full report.