Where are Colorado’s most inequitable school district borders? An EdBuild report mapped them.
Lake County and Aspen school districts share a border, but their resources are dramatically different. In Aspen, where 15 percent of students are children of color and 5 percent of students live in poverty, total per-pupil funding stands at nearly $25,000. Lake County, a student population with a much higher share of children of color (73 percent) and children in poverty (16 percent), sees per-pupil funding at just more than $11,000.
This district border between Lake County and Aspen is one of the country’s deeply divisive borders, according to a report released by EdBuild last week. Dismissed: America’s Most Divisive Borders maps the school district borders in each state where children are segregated significantly by race and access to resources, despite living in neighboring communities. Across the country, districts with higher rates of children in poverty and higher shares of children of color consistently receive less funding than whiter, more affluent districts, largely due to the role of local taxes in school finance.
EdBuild finds 969 divisive borders in 42 states where the revenue gap between districts is 10 percent or greater, and the gap in students of color is 25 percent or greater; along these borders, nearly 9 million American children are underserved. Seventeen of these divisive borders are in Colorado, between Alamosa, Monte Vista and Sargent; East Otero, Cheraw and Swink; Falcon and Elbert; Fountain and Cripple Creek-Victor; Greeley, Platte Valley and Windsor; Lamar and Wiley; Montezuma-Cortez and Dolores; Roaring Fork and Aspen; Rocky Ford, Cheraw and Swink; and Sheridan and Englewood. The race and funding gaps are more extreme along 132 deeply divisive borders in 21 states, where 2.1 million children are on the losing side of school district borders. In addition to the district border between Lake County and Aspen, Colorado’s other deeply divisive border is between Fort Morgan and Weldon Valley.
EdBuild’s report, Dismissed, along with several recent reports, have highlighted the stark funding inequities between Colorado’s school districts and the children in our state who feel those impacts most acutely. The state’s school finance formula has not been updated in 25 years, and limits to revenue due to the Gallagher Amendment and the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights have pushed many districts to fund themselves, exacerbating inequities.