Wealth and Expenditures Interactive Tool
-See Bottom of Page for Definitions and Video Walkthrough-
Information & Descriptions
Information: Here we present a tool that allows you to take a look at some aspects of funding across the state and in your individual district. We offer two maps: one showing the Combined Wealth Ratio of districts and the other showing Expenditure Per Pupil. Combined Wealth Ratio is calculated by the state to determine how much a local community will be able to fund a school. This is calculated into the state’s funding formula as a way to equalize the funding of districts. Districts with a lower CWR are limited in their means to fully fund a district, so state aid is greater in order to equalize spending with wealthier districts who have the means to fund schools without as much state aid. This is all part of an attempt to equalize Expenditure Per Pupil.
However, as is seen in the map, Expenditure Per Pupil is not equal across the state. There are a few variables that are important for explaining the variance across Expenditure Per Pupil, and we included those as adjustments you can make to the map.
The economically disadvantaged variable is important to note because it costs more to educate students with higher needs. With the CWR map next to the EPP map, it’s easy to look at a district with a low CWR and a high EPP and think those schools are doing fine funding-wise, when in fact, it costs more to educate those students if they are largely economically disadvantaged.
The enrollment variable is important to note because it costs more to educate fewer students. A district might have an average CWR and an extremely high EPP. One look at the low enrollment of a tiny district would show that the district has to spend a lot per student in order to maintain a functioning school.
Lastly, the minority variable is an interesting slider to take a look at because it shows a different story between upstate and downstate. Districts with 50% or more minority students in upstate are more likely to have lower CWRs whereas districts with 50% or more minority students downstate are more likely to have a high CWR. However, if you look at EPP, these upstate districts are more likely to have a lower EPP and these downstate districts are more likely to have a higher EPP. So in this way, this variable shows important differences in CWR and EPP between upstate and downstate.
As you look at districts across the state and zoom into your individual district, keep these variables in mind, as they can help explain some, though not all, of the nuances in funding.
Definition: The Combined Wealth Ratio (CWR) is defined by New York State as a “…measure of a district’s wealth taking into account both the district’s real property [values] and the income of residents of the district” (NYSED, 2017).
It is meant to give an approximate representation of the relative wealth of the community / communities in which a school district is located. Unaltered CWR is centered at 1.0, with districts above or below a value of 1 being above or below the average state CWR, respectively. For this tool, however, we utilize a decile classification in which all districts are ranked in ranges of 10%. If a district has a CWR percentile value of 70, it means that district is wealthier than 70% of the other districts in the state. For more information on the calculation of CWR and other fiscal variables by the New York State Education Department, please utilize the link following the definition above.