Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: Does Title I Funding Help to Equalize School Finance in Low-Income Communities?:Evidence from Michigan School Districts

Thursday, November 12, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Dongsook Han, Michigan State University
Since its establishment through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, Title I has provided financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) serving students from low-income families. Total Title I, Part A funding increased by 328% between FY 1980 and 2013. There were two big amendments in the Title I legislations. In 1994, reauthorization of ESEA added targeted grants category(adding per child weight in funding formula for high-poverty LEA) and finance incentive grant category for equity and efforts factors. In 2002, the current legislative, adopted accountability issues in Title I funding through the No Child Left Behind policy and to acquire annual measurable results. This study examines two levels of inter-governmental funding allocation, federal-state government and state-LEAs. For the first analysis, it shows how these two changes affected the distribution of Title I funding across states. In addition, the increase rates of Title I funds in real terms and the funds per pupil are variedly shown.

While studying the patterns of total Title I allocation from the federal government to state governments, I examine the relationship between funding allocation and the regional poverty level in the lower level of inter-governmental allocation, between state government and LEAs. Previous studies addressed urban and large enrollment size school districts have an advantage in securing Title I funding (Liu, 2008). Another study shows district budgeting in practice is beneficial for the schools with the fewer educational challenges (Roza, 2005). This study empirically examines this issue in Michigan to determine if Title I funding is allocated on the targeted groups and it helped to decrease inequality of funding. By comparing Title I funding allocation between high-poverty school districts and low-poverty school districts, I conduct analysis if Title I funds improve horizontal equity in Michigan. With Financial Information Database (FID) by school districts under the Michigan Department of Education, and the U.S. Census Bureau's Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates data, this study shows how Title I funding is consistent with poverty level. The analysis includes the effects of two times adjustment in legislation.  

Finally, given the growth of charter schools, I studied that charter schools and the school districts that have large number of charter schools in their geographic area are affected to secure the funding due to the size of enrollment. I compared the enrollment of disadvantaged students between traditional schools and charter schools, and find the effects of federal funding allocation by school choice. The findings explain one of the reason that the traditional school districts to lose their students have difficulty in their funding.