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What is weighted student count?

What is the Weighted Student Count? We’ve spent the past two weeks walking through the factors in the BEF formula that allocate additional ADMs to districts in recognition of the additional educational resources needed due to the following factors:

  • Moderate poverty
  • Acute poverty
  • Concentrated poverty
  • English Language Learner
  • Charter school
  • Sparsity/size
Putting all these factors and add-on ADMs together is easy. Starting with each school district’s 3-year average ADMs (click here if you missed our explanation of 3-year average ADMs), the add-on ADMs as calculated for each applicable factor are simply added on. The result is the Weighted Student Count. The weighted student count in each school district is larger than the 3-year average ADMs—as every school district has at least some add-on ADMs as a result of the factors noted above.
 
For example, a school district that had a 3-year average ADM of 1,081.84 in the 2018-19 formula also had student-weighted add-ons of 373.92 in combined poverty, 7.8 for English language learners, 9.62 for charter schools, and 47.53 for the sparsity size adjustment, resulted in 438.87 add-on ADMs. The weighted student count then is 1,520.7 (1,081.84 plus the 438.87).

Click on the map below to view the total amount of add-on ADMs in the BEF formula.
  Click on the map below to view the each school district’s weighted student count and change in WSC from 2015-16.
  Using the total amount of BEF a school district recieved through the formula for 2018-19, you can calculate the dollar value of each individual student component for each school district. In every case, the most significant factor in defining the amount of BEF a district gets through the new formula is the 3-year average ADMs—representing, generally, the number of students a district has to educate. This makes sense—districts that have more students, need more educational expenditures.

Returning to Mahanoy SD, the breakdown of weighted student count can be calculated by takign each student component as a percent of weighted student count. The 3-year average ADM was 71.14%, combined poverty was 24.59%, English language learners were 0.51%, charter school component was 0.63% and the sparsity size adjustment was 3.13% of weighted student count.

If you apply these percentages to the total student-weighted BEF $ distribution the school district recieved in 2018-19 of $558,613, you calculate that the 3-year average ADM represented $397,400, poverty represented $137,356, English language learners represented $2,865, charter school component represented $3,532, and the sparsity size adjustment represented $17,460. 

Click on the map below to view the dollar value of each student factor based on 2018-19 BEF funding.
 
Map: Student Component Dollar Value
  • 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.