Chapter 9.17


What is Adjusted Student Weight Count and the "Share" Concept?

It’s time to put all the pieces of the BEF formula together. We’ve walked through each of the student weights and the resulting Weighted Student Count (WSC). The next step in the formula is to multiply the Weighted Student Count by each of the multipliers—the MHII (Median Household Income Index) and the LECI (Local Effort/Capacity Index). The result is the most important number in the BEF formula for each school district: the Adjusted Weighted Student Count.
As the product of the Weighted Student Count, the MHII and the LECI, Adjusted Weighted Student Count can be greater than a school district’s actual ADMs count—or it can be smaller. This is as a result of the fact that both the MHII and LECI are multipliers and can be greater than or less than 1.
As an example, Canon-McMillan SD had 5,194 ADMs in 2016-17 and their Weighted Student Count was 5,382 ADMs. However, after application of their multipliers (MHII=0.80; LECI=1.11), their Adjusted Weighted Student Count in the 2018-19 formula was 4,786 ADMs (92.14% of their actual ADMs).
On the other side, Wilkinsburg Borough SD had 1,137 ADMs in 2016-17 and their Weighted Student Count was 1,769 ADMs. However, after application of their multipliers (MHII=1.61; LECI=1.05), their Adjusted Weighted Student Count in the 2018-19 formula was 3,009 ADMs (264.4% of the their actual ADMs).

Since the formula and its component variables get updated each year, school districts' adjusted weighted student count changes every year. Since the 2015-16 BEF formula, some districts have grown and some have decreased in their AWSC. For some school districts a change in 10 reasults in a change of 50 AWSC.

The scatter plot below illustrates change from 2015-16 to 2018-19 in 3-year average ADMs on the x-axis and a change in adjusted weighted student on the y-axis.

Click on the map below to view each school district’s Adjusted Weighted Student Count.

  Now that we’ve put all the pieces of the BEF formula together, what does it mean? The Adjusted Weighted Student Count the most important number for each school district. This number represents the school district’s total share of the new BEF dollars.
The BEF formula only distributes the dollars added to the BEF line item AFTER 2014-15 (all BEF distributed to districts in 2014-15 is locked in place as the BEF base allocation). For 2018-19, the formula is distributing $538 million to districts. Based on Governor Wolf’s proposed budget, for 2019-20, the BEF formula would distribute $704.8 million.
A school district’s share of the $538 million for 2018-19 is determined by its Adjusted Weighted Student Count divided by the total of all Adjusted Weighted Student Counts for all school districts. The school district will receive that percentage or "share" of the BEF.
For example, Forest Hills SD’s Adjusted Weighted Student Count for 2018-19 BEF formula is 2,056, while the total Adjusted Weighted Student Count for all school districts is 2,944,759. Their share of the total is 0.07%. As a result, they receive 0.07% of the $538 million in BEF for 2018-19—or $376,140. This is in addition to the district’s BEF base allocation.
Because the BEF formula is dynamic and dependent on annually changing data, a school district’s share of BEF will change from year to year. In fact, it is possible for a school district to receive less BEF in one year than in the previous year even if the state increases the basic education funding line-item. For example, in the 2018-19 formula, 16 school districts BEF decreased over the prior year. This could happen if the school district’s demographics shifted to reduce the Weighted Student Count, the MHII or the LECI. It could also happen if other school districts experienced significant increases in their Weighted Student Count, MHII or LECI, such that their share increased significantly.

An illustration of this is provided below.
Click here to view a map of the share of the $6XX million in the student-weighted BEF distribution for 2019-20 as well as the share change from the base allocation.
  • Each of our maps illustrate data relevant to the topic of the day for each school district. You can find the map legend at the top left of your screen after opening the map. 
  • Hover over any school district with your mouse to open a pop-up label providing information associated with that school district.
  • You can filter school districts by locale type (urban, suburban, town, or rural), by intermediate unit, and occasionally by other factors as well.