How Members Are Prioritizing School Finance in 2018
February 1, 2018

Use the bullets below to jump to a specific section, or visit the 2018 Network Member Priorities Overview.

2018 Outlook

For the third year in a row, more advocates than the previous year rank advocacy on school finance as a high priority or on the to-do list. In 2018, this trend will continue as many advocates continue multi-year campaigns and new organizations get involved in the space. With a few notable exceptions, most member work in school finance involves laying groundwork and raising awareness for the need for reform in future years.

Key Takeaways

  • Members are increasingly more active in the school finance space. Only four (7%) survey participants stated it was not a priority this year.
  • Many Network members are pursuing school finance reform as one of their top priorities. Twenty-two organizations (37%) stated it was a high priority.
  • In this issue area, members most frequently mention work to improve inequitable funding formulas, increase transparency of school-level expenditures, and improve funding for charter schools.

State Snapshot

Thirty-eight PIE Network members in 24 states and Washington, D.C. are planning to engage on this issue in 2018, either as a high priority or on the to-do list.

Member Engagement

Below, you’ll see lists of member organizations who said they were planning to work on similar school finance policies. If you’re interested in connecting with any of the organizations listed below, ask Lukas for an introduction.


Thirty-two members report currently engaging on this issue.

  • AL A+ Education Partnership: Advocate to Create a Per Pupil Funding Mechanism
  • AZ A for Arizona: Fund Expansion of Excellent Schools – Particularly Those Serving High Poverty Communities & Improve Funding Equity Across School Types
  • CA Parent Revolution: Ensure that Priority Funding Makes it to Underserved Students
  • CA EdVoice: Failure of LCFF to Get Extra Dollars to Increase or Improve Services to Disadvantaged Kids
  • CO DFER Colorado: 2 Year Work with Legislative Committee to Rewrite Distribution and Consider New Revenue
  • CO Colorado Succeeds: Improve School Funding Formula to be More Student-Centered
  • CO Ready Colorado: Improving the Formula
  • CO A+ Colorado: Make Sure Any New Proposals Allow for Funds to Follow Students
  • CT ConnCAN: Fair Funding Formula
  • DC DFER District of Columbia: Lay Groundwork for Student-Based Budgeting
  • DE Rodel Foundation of Delaware: Increase Public Awareness of Education Funding System
  • FL Foundation for Florida’s Future: Create a Weighted Cost Factor for Low-income Students for a More Student-centered Funding Formula
  • ID Idaho Business for Education: Keeping Eye on Interim Committee Working on Overhauling School Funding Formula
  • IL Advance Illinois: Ensure Progress Toward Equity by Monitoring, Reporting, and Supporting Implementation of State’s New Funding System; Advance Intra-District Funding Equity
  • IL Stand for Children Illinois: Investing $350+ in The New Formula
  • KS AlignEd: Improve School Funding Formula
  • LA Stand for Children Louisiana: Identify and Pass Policies that Shift More Dollars Directly to Classroom, Away from Centralized Administrative Expenditures
  • MA Teach Plus-Massachusetts: Advocate for Greater Finances and Changes to our School Funding Formula
  • MA Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education: Changing Conversation from “How Much” to “How Well”
  • MA Stand for Children Massachusetts: Foundation Budget Revisions
  • MI The Education Trust-Midwest: Greater and More Meaningful Equity
  • MN Educators for Excellence-Minnesota: Improve Funding Formulas and District Spending With Principles of Transparency, Equity, and Charter/District Partnerships for School Funding Formulas
  • MS Mississippi First: New Funding Formula
  • NY The Education Trust-New York: Raise Awareness of Inequitable Funding for Schools Serving Low-Income Students and Students of Color
  • OH Thomas B. Fordham Institute-Ohio: Move Toward Weighted Student Funding and Away from “Caps” and “Guarantees” that Distort Funding Formula
  • OK Oklahoma Achieves: Improve and Reform Funding Formula
  • OR Chalkboard Project: Revenue Reform
  • TN TennesseeCAN: Increases in Some Funding Areas and Building Toward a Larger Push in 2019
  • TX Texas Aspires: Monitor School Finance Commission
  • WA League of Education Voters: Create More Equitable Funding Formula Based on Student Need
  • WA Partnership for Learning: Ensure Equitable Allocation of State Funds and Reasonable Limits on Local Levy Funds
  • WA DFER Washington: Greater Equity in School Finance Systems and Proper Oversight


Thirteen members report currently engaging on this issue.

  • AZ A for Arizona: Implementation of School Level Budget Transparency
  • CA The Education Trust-West: Transparency in Funding
  • CO Stand for Children Colorado: Explicit Reporting on How Targeted Funds are Being Spent
  • DE Rodel Foundation of Delaware: Utilize ESSA Fiscal Transparency Requirement
  • GA Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education: Cost Assessment to Get Real World Costs of K-12
  • LA Stand for Children Louisiana: Leverage ESSA to Increase the Integrity and Transparency of Per Pupil Spending at the School Level
  • MN Educators for Excellence-Minnesota: Establish More Financial Transparency on Per Pupil Spending
  • NE Educate Nebraska: Move Forward with a Financial Transparency Policy Introduced in 2017
  • NY Educators for Excellence-New York: Work to Increase Transparency Through School Level Budgeting Reports Required in State ESSA Plan
  • OK Oklahoma Achieves: Improve School Fiscal Transparency
  • WA DFER Washington: Higher Accountability for Education Dollars
  • WA League of Education Voters: Improve Spending Transparency
  • WA Partnership for Learning: Ensure Latest Education Investments are Allocated Toward Systemically Underserved Populations


Twelve members report currently engaging on this issue.

  • AR Arkansas Learns: Annual Open-Enrollment Public Charter School Facilities Funding at a Minimum Of $500 Per Student
  • CA GO Public Schools: Improved District-Charter Equity and Portfolio Management in Oakland Unified (OUSD)
  • CO Ready Colorado: Funding Equity for State-Authorized Charters
  • CO DFER Colorado: Work to Ensure CSI Funding for Mill Equity is Approved and Prevent Roll Back on Legislation Achieved in 2016 and 2017
  • CT ConnCAN: Fair Funding
  • DC DFER DC: Access to Equal Facilities and Funding
  • GA GeorgiaCAN: Decrease/Eliminate Inequities in Charter School Funding
  • LA Stand for Children Louisiana: Continue to Advocate for High-Quality Charter Schools with Equitable Access
  • OH Thomas B. Fordham Institute-Ohio: Move to Direct State Funding of Charters; Reduce the Funding Gap with Traditional Public Schools
  • TN TennesseeCAN: Increase Funding
  • TX Texas Aspires: Protect New Funding
  • WA Partnership for Learning: Ensure that Charter Schools Receive Equitable Funding, Especially for Facilities

Expertise on this Issue

Below are members with experience who offered themselves as thought partners on this issue.

  • Advance Illinois, Ginger Ostro, Executive Director: State school funding models
  • ConnCAN, Sean Matteson, COO: Charter Funding
  • EdVoice, Bill Lucia, President & CEO: Finance
  • GeorgiaCAN, Michael O’Sullivan, Executive Director: School Funding Reform and Fiscal Transparency
  • League of Education Voters, Leann Arend, COO: State Funding
  • Oklahoma Achieves, Jennifer Monies, Executive Director: School Finance
  • Rodel Foundation of Delaware, Neil Kirschling, Senior Program Officer: Funding Reform Efforts & ESSA Fiscal Transparency
  • Stand for Children Illinois, Jessica Handy, Government Affairs Director: IL Teacher Pension Funding

Members most frequently listed EdBuild, The Education Trust, Education Commission of the States, and Edunomics as go-tos for advice and resources on school finance.


    PIE Network

    PIE Network supports and promotes a network of education advocacy organizations working to improve K-12 education in their states so that every student graduates world-ready.

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