Chapter 9.5


What are the Poverty Weights?

One of the most important student factors in the new state basic education funding (BEF) formula is poverty, and in recognition that students living in poverty require additional educational supports to overcome the effects of poverty, the formula directs additional resources to high poverty school districts. The impact of student poverty on educational success is so significant that the BEF formula contains three separate poverty weights—moderate poverty, acute poverty and concentrated poverty—a school district gets additional or bonus ADMs within the BEF formula calculation based on the number of students they have in each poverty category.
Students living in moderate poverty are those living between 100-184% of the federal poverty line. Based on 2017 federal guidelines, the federal poverty line was $12,060 for a single-person household and $20,420 for a family of 3, so this means students living in a 3-person household making $20,420 to $36,756 a year are living in moderate poverty.
Students living in acute poverty are those living below the federal poverty line. This means that students living in a 5-person household making below $28,780 are considered acute poverty.
Under the BEF formula, students living in acute poverty are considered to be living in concentrated poverty when a school district’s population living in acute poverty is 30% or more (i.e. below the federal poverty line).
The federal poverty guidelines are available here.
To determine how many students are living in poverty in each school district, the BEF formula uses federal data from the U.S. Census Bureau to measure poverty in each school district. The data, which is produced every December, comes in the form of a percentage of students (ages 6-17) in each school district living within these poverty thresholds. The data is based on annual surveys, and the data is averaged over 5 years.
We’ll spend the next few days examining the three poverty weights in the new BEF formula. For today, however, click on the image links below to learn more about the median, average and statewide data of acute poverty and moderate poverty.