New report calls for stronger link between school finance formulas and research on student achievement.

Contact: Teri Battaglieri – (517) 203-2940;
Anthony Rolle – (979) 862-3519;

EAST LANSING, Mich. (July 14, 2008) – School funding formulas that determine how to spend the more than half a trillion dollars we invest in K-12 public education each year are often arbitrary and not reflective of reliable research findings on student achievement according to a new policy brief released by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

In Strengthening the Link Between Effective School Expenditures and State Funding, author Anthony Rolle of Texas A&M University explains that improving school finance formulas in accordance with up-to-date research on the most effective teaching and learning methods can advance student achievement.

The brief examines which spending categories improve academic quality and identifies obstacles that prevent the adoption, into state funding formulas, of research-based spending guidelines. It then recommends ways to strengthen the link between funding formulas, expense components and desired academic outcomes.

The brief also addresses issues of equity and of the effective use of spending. Rolle outlines the standard approach to funding schools and observes that, to achieve equity, state legislatures typically adjust district-level financing to account for such circumstances as the cost of living, special education needs and the presence of at-risk students. However, state funding formulas are slow to include many of the adjustments that research as shown to be effective.

According to Rolle, “Failure to formulate financial policy in light of research findings is failure to maximize chances for school success. Such failure is likely to reduce educational opportunities for students and to increase the probability of poor educational (and perhaps economic) outcomes for students.”

Find Anthony Rolle’s policy brief on the web at:


The mission of the Great Lakes Center is to improve public education for all students in the Great Lakes region through the support and dissemination of high quality, academically sound research on education policy and practices.

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