Transforming School Funding: A Guide to Implementing Student-Based Budgeting

January 2014

Student-Based Budgeting (sometimes called Weighted Student Funding, or Fair Student Funding, depending on the district) differs fundamentally from the traditional funding model, which distributes resources to schools in the form of staff and dollars designated for specific purposes.

Student-Based Budgeting (SBB) allocates dollars to schools based on the number of enrolled students, where each student receives a funding "weight" based on need. This model can allow districts to increase equity, transparency, and flexibility in their funding system. In this guide, you will find information to consider whether SBB is right for your school system, including stories of how districts such as Boston, Denver, Baltimore, and Cleveland implemented SBB.

Transforming School Funding: A Guide to Implementing Student-Based Budgeting (PDF)

The Guide covers:

Taking the Plunge

  • Is SBB right for my district?
  • What kind of team do we need?
  • When and how should we roll out SBB?

Designing the System

  • Define the eligible pool of resources
  • Unlock resources
  • Project the size of the SBB pool
  • Build the funding formula
  • Make policy decisions
  • Choose weight values and test scenarios

Implementing SBB

  • Adjust core processes
  • Rethink principal and district office roles
  • Design training and support
  • Build and sustain investment