CPRE : Consortium for Policy Research in Education

Costs of Providing Adequate Program Services to Low-income Students

The primary purpose of this project (1996-2001) was to provide a systematic measure of the resources required to provide a high-quality education to all students, particularly students from low-income backgrounds, and to demonstrate how these measures can be used in school aid formulas. The approach was to use multivariate statistical techniques to estimate an economic cost function for public education. A cost function allows calculation of the amount of money any school district must spend in order to achieve a given level of educational performance. The performance level can be set at any point the state determines is "adequate." Costs can differ across school districts for several reasons that are outside the control of local school boards, such as the number of children with "special needs" or factors that increase the amount of money needed to attract good teachers, such as the area cost-of-living.

Achieving Educational Adequacy through School Finance Reform

(Andrew Reschovsky and Jennifer Imazeki, October 2000, No. RR-045)