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Racial Disparities in Education Finance: Going Beyond Equal Revenues

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Publication Date: November 2008

Publisher(s): Tax Policy Center

Author(s): Sheila Murray; Kim Rueben

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Education (Education financing, facilities, and equipment)

Keywords: State and Local Finance; State and Local Issues; School Finance; State and Local Issues

Type: Paper


Education is a key pathway out of poverty, yet schools that primarily serve minority students often fail to provide the educational opportunities available in predominantly white schools. A series of state court cases has addressed one cause of that disparity, the dramatic funding differences that result from reliance on local property taxes to fund schools. This paper examines the success of court-mandated solutions in equalizing spending per pupil across districts serving minority and white students. However, we show that there remains much disparity in other measures of educational quality and outcomes.