Tuesday, September 18, 2012

State and District Receipt of Recovery Act K-12 Education Funds

This report uses Department of Education and publicly-available data sources to examine the distribution of Recovery Act K-12 education funds. In particular, data from Recovery.gov (a new cross-agency website developed to gather and make public reporting on the receipt and use of Recovery Act funds) made it possible to examine both grant and sub-grant award amounts and to track funds at the state and district levels.

Specifically, the report examines (1) how much states and districts received from the Recovery Act and its different programs and (2) whether and how the distribution of funds varied by key characteristics (e.g., child poverty rates) of the recipient states and districts. Findings lay the groundwork for ED's multi-year evaluation "Charting the Progress of Education Reform: An Evaluation of the Recovery Act's Role", which examines the implementation of Recovery Act promoted K-12 education reforms.

Findings reveal:

1. The Recovery Act K–12 education funding provided an average of $1,396 per pupil to individual states, with amounts ranging from $1,063 to $3,632 per pupil.

2. On average, 81 percent of Recovery Act K–12 funding was awarded to local education agencies (LEAs), either through sub-grants from states or through direct grants from ED. In total, 93% of all districts in the nation received Recovery Act funds from at least one program.

3. When states were grouped according to key characteristics, some variations in funding amounts were found. In particular, states with the largest budget shortfalls and states with the highest student achievement received more per pupil ($143 and $159 respectively) than did states with the smallest budget shortfalls and lowest student achievement, even though neither funding formulas nor award criteria emphasized these variables. In contrast, there was less variation when states were grouped by child poverty rates or the percentage of students in persistently lowest-achieving (PLA) schools.

4. Districts with the highest child poverty rates received, on average, twice as much per pupil ($1,369) as did districts with the lowest child poverty rates ($684). Similarly, districts with the highest percent of PLA schools received considerably more ($867) than did districts with no PLA schools ($867).

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