Abstract

We examine how funding for public school facilities varies with school district property wealth and household income. Using data on school facility (i.e., capital) funding in California from fiscal years 1986-87 to 2015-16, we find that funding for school construction and modernization varies widely across districts. Disparities in funding are driven primarily by inter-district differences in property wealth with the highest property wealth districts raising significantly more funding for school facilities. Assessed value per-pupil in California is also negatively correlated with the share of disadvantaged students and students of color. As a result, school facility funding tends to be substantially lower in districts with the highest concentrations of disadvantaged students and students of color.

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