This policy brief uses the school-level expenditure data from the Study of School-Level Expenditures to examine the potential impact of revising the Title I comparability requirement to focus on school-level expenditures. The federal Title I program requires that school districts provide services in higher-poverty, Title I schools from state and local funds that are at least comparable to those in lower-poverty, non-Title I schools. The current Title I comparability requirement allows school districts to demonstrate compliance in various ways and does not require comparability of actual school-level expenditures.
Key findings include: An estimated 18 to 28 percent of Title I districts would not be in compliance with an expenditures-based comparability requirement, depending on the specifications of the requirement. However, the estimated cost of complying with an expenditures-based comparability requirement amounts to just 1 to 4 percent of school-level expenditures in affected districts, on average. Low-spending Title I schools and higher-poverty schools would see their per-pupil expenditures rise by an average of 4 to 15 percent.