Unequal Access: How Debt Exacerbates Inequality in Education Financing

When school funding flows from property taxes, it follows that geographic wealth disparities will lead to unequal districts. In the 1970s, courts began wading into the legally murky water of school funding to correct such gaps, but they did so without a comprehensive understanding of what creates them in the first place. Courts focused on property taxes and spending per pupil to measure inequality, instead of debt and the ability to access financial markets. Given this incomplete understanding of inequality, most courts shirk the opportunity to ensure that students have equal access to education, deferring school funding questions to state legislatures. […]