State aid formulas based on achieving adequacy may generate funding which states deem necessary to provide an adequate education. Such approaches are inequitable because students’ needs and the cost to educate each student based on his or her needs vary by school, district, and state. Adequacy approaches often fund districts based on average per pupil costs. This results in under resourced districts especially those with disproportionately high per pupil costs such as large urban districts.
Foundation aid formulas provide approximately the same aid per district regardless of the district’s ability to raise property tax revenue which exacerbates the inequitable resource gap among affluent and under resourced districts. Adequacy formulas even those with varying levels of aid based on district needs, aim to generate an adequate level of resources to meet an adequate level of state educational performance standards.
Funding to achieve adequacy rather than equity, results in adequate but inequitable educational resource allocation among schools and districts. Equity requires funding based on the cost to educate each student in his or her district. Equitable funding must be provided to enable every district to have the combined local, state, and federal funding necessary to provide a quality education commensurate with the most affluent districts. Equity will not be achieved by providing only a minimally adequate level that maintains the inequitable resource gap.