Equity Dashboard demonstrates of impact of new funding formula

Posted on April 18, 2018

We are thrilled to share with you our Equity Dashboard, a new data tool that shows Illinois’ progress toward equitable and adequate funding for all school districts. The Equity Dashboard, the latest release since we launched our Data Desk last year, takes our data visualizations to a new level, analyzing and using the new funding figures released by the Illinois State Board of Education on April 5. The Equity Dashboard shows how well districts are being funded, and the impact new funding formula dollars are having on historically under-resourced students, including students of color, low-income students and English learners. The data show that the formula is working, but that its impact will take time.



Highlights of the analysis show:

Over 400 school districts (1.2 million students) have less than 70% of the funding needed to provide adequate supports to their students. This is not surprising because the vast majority of school districts—713 districts (1.7 million students) out of the state’s 851 districts—are currently underfunded.

The least-funded district in the state has just 46% of the funding it needs—but it is getting the most from the new dollars just released—$1,108 per pupil! And looking at the Equity Dashboard shows this is true overall—the least adequately funded districts are receiving the most from the formula.

On average, Black students have only 65% of the funding they need. Latino students are only slightly better off at 67%. The good news is that from the new dollars just released, Black students are receiving $227 per pupil and Latino students are receiving $275 per pupil, the most of any demographic groups. With the Equity Dashboard, you can dig even deeper and see how funding changes based on student and district characteristics.

Low-income students on average are funded at 67%, while wealthier students are funded at 81%. The new funding begins to close that gap, by providing $245 per pupil for low-income students and $131 per pupil for wealthier students. The Equity Dashboard shows the amount of new dollars going to low property-wealth districts.

Want to know how your school district fares? You can look up any school district and see how its demographics and local resources compare with the state averages, view how much per pupil funding a district currently receives, how much new funding it will receive under the new formula and how much more funding it needs to serve its students.

You can see why we are excited about this new tool. Our goal is to provide dynamic, accessible visualizations of data—rather than loads of spreadsheets and tables—that offer you an opportunity to deepen your understanding of the education system, and what’s happening in your local district.

As you interact with the Equity Dashboard, we encourage you to think about what the new formula means for the state and our future. Behind the numbers are children who will have more opportunities for a quality education after years of pro-ration and underfunding. That’s the promise of the new funding formula, and now we have the first step toward fulfilling that promise.
We hope you’ll continue to support Advance Illinois, and we look forward to teaming up with you to further improve Illinois’ public education system.

–Ginger Ostro and the Advance Illinois team