Several Massachusetts superintendents are spending more money on schools that enroll mostly wealthy students than they are on schools that educate mostly poor students, even though the state designed its funding formula to do the exact opposite. And some schools are outperforming other schools even though they’re receiving significantly less money.
That’s according to a new report by the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, which analyzed school-spending data now provided by the state’s department of education under a new ESSA provision.
The data dump comes amid a tense debate at the state capital over how to overhaul the state’s funding formula. Three bills under consideration in the state legislature could provide significantly more money to districts. But the distribution methods and amounts vary widely. All are tangled up in a politically contentious process that’s spurred protests and a lawsuit.
MBAE found that under the current system, districts such as Brockton, Chelmsford and New Bedford, distribute their money between schools in an inconsistent way that often is not targeted toward the state’s neediest students.
“Money isn’t always getting to the students who need it the most,” Edward Lambert Jr., the group’s executive director said in a press release.