New Study: Virginia Needs to Spend Much More on Students in High-Poverty Districts

Mar 28, 2019

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Virginia’s poorest school districts are not receiving the funding they need, according to a new study.

High-poverty school divisions need more money than wealthy parts of Virginia. And yet, a new report from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education suggests there is still a lot of work to do.

“Virginia is among the regressive states,” says Bruce Baker, a professor at Rutgers who helped put together the study.

“Adjusting for other factors, competitive wages and economies of scale, Virginia has less money going to higher-poverty districts, and Virginia is not looking good in that regard,” he says.

Virginia spends about $11,000 per student in the highest-poverty school divisions.

Chris Duncombe at the Commonwealth Institute says that’s not nearly enough.

“There are examples where higher-poverty divisions are spending slightly more, such as Richmond city and Petersburg compared to some of the surrounding counties in the central Virginia area," says Duncombe. "But what this shows and this study shows is they should be spending more. In fact, they should be spending a lot more.”

About $6,000 more per student to be specific. That’s Rutgers’ recommendation to achieve national average outcomes.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.