Fair school funding systems ensure that districts, schools, and ultimately students receive significant additional funding according to their specific needs. Providing high-quality learning opportunities for students living in poverty, English learners, students with disabilities, and rural students requires additional resources.

According to The Education Trust’s State of Funding Equity, in Louisiana:

  • The highest poverty districts receive $940 or 7.8% less state and local revenue than the lowest poverty districts.
  • The districts serving the most students of color receive $1,237 or 11% more state and local revenue per student than the districts serving the fewest students of color.
  • The districts serving the most English learners receive $198 or 1.7% less state and local revenue per student than the districts serving the fewest English learners.

For more information about how these data compare with other states or district specific information, see The Education Trust’s State of Funding Equity report.

Learn more about
how Louisiana
funds students

According to EdBuild, “Louisiana has a hybrid funding formula, incorporating both resource-based and student-based elements. It assigns a cost to the education of a student with no special needs or services, called a base amount, and provides increased funding to educate specific categories of students. The categories of students generating supplemental funding in Louisiana are students in certain grade levels, English-language learners, students from low-income households, students with disabilities, students identified as gifted, students enrolled in career and technical education programs, and students in small school districts. It also provides funding allocations for specific resource costs, including certain staff and operating costs.”

The Education Law Center’s 2023 Making the Grade Report rated Alabama’s school funding:

  • D on per-pupil funding relative to the national average.
  • D on the percentage difference in per-pupil funding in high-poverty districts relative to low-poverty districts.
  • C on the PK-12 funding as a percentage of state GDP.


Student Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity, 2021-22

Per-Pupil Expenditures, Fiscal Year 2021




Per-Pupil Expenditures

How fair is
Louisiana’s Funding?

Using criteria developed based on research, best practice, and what we believe, we provide ratings for Louisiana’s school funding formula below. Our goal is for states to build a simplified, student-weighted funding formula guided by students’ different levels of need with the goals of eliminating achievement and opportunity gaps. We aim for states to create adequate, equitable, and transparent formulas that provide clear dollar allocations by assigning additional “weights” for students from low-income families, English learners, students with disabilities, and rural students.

For more on how we determined our ratings for Louisiana click here.

See our ratings across states, an explanation of the criteria we used to differentiate between state funding systems, and explanations of our specific state rankings here.

Meets Criteria
Partially Meets Criteria
Doesn’t Meet Criteria
RatingReason for Rating
The funding formula is
student-based, or weighted
The formula is student-based
Per-pupil funding is adequate enough for all students to achieve average, national test scores
There is high percentage of students attending schools in inadequately funded districts
Formula includes a weight or additional funding for students living in poverty
The formula includes a 22% weight for students living in poverty
Formula includes a weight or additional funding for
English learners
The formula provides a 22% weight for English learners
Formula includes a weight or additional funding for students
with disabilities
The formula includes a single SPED weight and does not differentiate between disability (the weight is 150% of the per-student base)
Formula includes a weight or additional funding for sparse and/or isolated districts
The sparsity weight is not generous (the weight ranges from 1.0 to 1.2 depending on enrollment)
Formula includes weights or additional funding for districts with high levels of concentrated poverty
The formula does not include a weight for concentrated poverty
State caps how much local revenue districts can raise to limit between-district disparities in local revenue
The formula sets a cap on local property tax rates and sets a level at which voters can vote to increase property taxes
State annually publishes information about how the funding system is designed to work in clear, plain language
The state education department publishes several documents about the funding system, including a presentation that summarizes the state’s funding system, but it is not easy to locate on the website
State reports school spending data in alignment with equity-oriented principles
The state reports are partially aligned with equity-oriented school spending reporting principles
Taxpayer funds are used to maintain and support public
schools exclusively
The state has a voucher program for students with disabilities that live in certain areas; also has a scholarship program for low-income students attending low-performing schools
Sources: EdBuild

Who’s Who

in Louisiana

The Louisiana State Legislature is a bicameral body. The Louisiana House of Representatives has 105 members and the State Senate has 39 members. Both the House and the Senate have standing Education Policy committees that hear all related education legislation. In 2024, the legislature will convene March 11, 2024 and adjourn no later than June 3, 2024.

State Superintendent of Education
The Louisiana State Superintendent of Education is appointed by the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). The State Superintendent oversees the Louisiana Department of Education and the state’s PK-12 schools.

State Board of Education
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is composed of 11 members. Eight of the members are elected from districts that are specific to BESE. The remaining three members are appointed by the governor of Louisiana to represent the state at-large. BESE is the policy-making body governing the elementary and secondary schools of Louisiana.