Funding Pre-K through the School Funding Formula

Source: Julie Poppe and Daniel Thatcher, National Conference of State Legislatures, April 24, 2015

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia use the school funding or finance formula to fund pre-K. Some states have found benefits to funding pre-K through a state’s school funding formula, such as being able to sustain funding based on program costs and demand. Using the formula helps support pre-K programs, because it forces budget makers to ask how much to fund or increase funding for pre-K, rather than whether to fund at all. In addition, funding formulas are premised on enrollment counts so pre-K funding can increase with enrollment growth. Some states, however, have experienced challenges in phasing in formula funding for pre-K. ….