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Executive summary

High-poverty school districts need additional resources to educate their students at the same level as more affluent districts; but until now, there has not been a formula to identify exactly how much additional funding they need. A recent national study by a team of researchers at Rutgers University, The Real Shame of the Nation: The Causes and Consequences of Interstate Inequity in Public School Investments, provides a formula to determine the level of per-pupil funding necessary for school districts at different poverty levels to raise student achievement to the national average. This brief applies this study’s formula and methodology to the Los Angeles Unified District (LAUSD), and explores ways that additional funding could be allocated to dramatically increase the education services provided to Los Angeles students. According to the Rutgers report, LAUSD must spend more than $24,000 per pupil annually, compared to the $13,452 per pupil the district currently allocates, to ensure that students meet average national outcomes. This expanded level of funding would allow LAUSD to achieve nationally recommended ratios for critical staffing such as teachers, nurses, and counselors. California’s recent adoption of a Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), is a step in the right direction. However, there is a long way to go.

How Much Funding Do Los Angeles Schools Need?

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