What are weights?

Editor's note: Vermont is obligated under its state constitution to provide equal education opportunity to its students, as determined by a 1997 landmark state Supreme Court decision, Brigham v. State. (You'll see this decision referred to in news reports about school funding as “the Brigham decision.”)

As part of reforming the state education funding system to comply with that decision, the state created a fund for collecting tax money from communities and redistributing it to school districts based on student population - sort of.

To account for disparities in the actual costs of providing education to certain student populations, the state applies some adjustments that effectively bump up or slim down the number of students that are presumed to be attending the school. Schools are, therefore, funded based on how many students of equal means would be attending - the number of “equalized pupils.”

State formulas are applied to the number of economically-disadvantaged students, English language learners, and secondary students, all of which bump up the equalized pupil population. Pre-kindergarten students take fewer resources, so they reduce the equalized pupil head count. These factors are referred to as “weights.”

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates