School funding disparities and the plight of Latinx children


  • Bruce D. Baker Rutgers University
  • Ajay Srikanth Rutgers University
  • Preston C. Green III University of Connecticut
  • Robert Cotto University of Connecticut & Trinity College



School Funding, Equity, Latinx, Education Policy


This article provides a systematic decomposition of disparities in school funding by race and ethnicity using two new data resources. First, we use a national district level panel of data from the School Finance Indicators Database to evaluate recent (2012 – 2017) disparities in school revenue and spending by race in addition to poverty, across and within all states and within selected states. Next, we use data from the National Education Cost Model (NECM) to evaluate disparities in spending against estimates of “costs” of achieving national average student outcomes to determine racial differences in gaps between current spending and costs of equitable outcomes. As Latinx shares increase, per pupil spending and revenue decrease, respectively by about 4% to 7% for districts that are approximately 100% Latinx compared to those that have few or no Latinx students, controlling for poverty. More striking, when controlling for poverty, a district that is 100% Latinx is nearly 2.5 times as likely as a district that is 0% Latinx to be financially disadvantaged (have revenue <90% of labor market average, and poverty greater than 120%), when controlling for poverty and 28.5 times as likely when not controlling for poverty. Finally, spending is less adequate to achieve national average outcomes, across states, in districts serving larger shares of Latinx students.


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Author Biographies

Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University

Bruce Baker is a professor in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University and author of Educational Inequality and School Finance: Why Money Matters for America’s Students (Harvard Education Press).

Ajay Srikanth, Rutgers University

Ajay Srikanth is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University focusing on school funding and educational inequality, with specific interest in English Language Learner populations.

Preston C. Green III, University of Connecticut

Preston C. Green III is Neag Endowed Chair of Urban Education in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut.

Robert Cotto, University of Connecticut & Trinity College

Robert Cotto Jr. is a Ph.D. student at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education, in Storrs, and a lecturer in educational studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT. 




How to Cite

Baker, B. D., Srikanth, A., Green III, P. C., & Cotto, R. (2020). School funding disparities and the plight of Latinx children. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 28, 135.