Strategic School Funding for Results



SSFR Site Archived

The SSFR website has been archived and is no longer regularly updated. We are keeping the site available in hope that you will find the resources useful in your work. Please contact us should you have any questions about the SSFR project.


SSFR Releases New Publications—March, 2012

The SSFR research team has released reports about the perspectives of central office staff, principals, teachers, and school site councils on resource allocation and the implementation of SSFR in TRUSD and LAUSD.


Visit the SSFR reports page 


SSFR Presents to the Council on Great City Schools—October 21, 2011

Steve Jubb from PLP and and William Bass from LAUSD presented on the implementation of SSFR in LAUSD.


Download the slide presentation




We are especially grateful for funding from:

  • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • The Ford Foundation
  • The Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Dept. of Education



Strategic School Funding for Results (SSFR) was first implemented in 2009 as a partnership between social science research firm AIR and the San Francisco-based Pivot Learning Partners. The goal of the project is to improve local school finance, governance, and human resources management by building human capital among district and school level decision makers. SSFR hopes to achieve this goal by providing districts with a set of tools and supports that streamline the process of developing school budgets, allocating district resources, and evaluating student outcomes on a per-pupil (as opposed to a per-school) basis. Districts currently involved with the project are Los Angeles (LAUSD), Pasadena (PUSD)*, and Twin Rivers (TRUSD).

This website represents our progress and reports. A notable strength of this project is the expertise of our Advisory Board. A more detailed description of the project can be found on this page.


*SSFR activities in PUSD are currently on hold (For more information, please read this press release).




Ed Trust - West Report Highlights Need for District Budget Transparency

October 2012

Ed Trust-West has released a report (Tipping the Scales Towards Equity) calling for changes to Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed school finance reform package. While voicing support for the reform’s employment of a Weighted Student formula, the report questions whether the Governor’s proposal contains sufficient provisions to ensure that funds designated for high need students are subsequently passed on to these students by district offices. As a potential solution, the report calls for reform that (a) places a burden on districts to justify their flexible use of categorical funds and (b) imposes  mechanisms that would make district accounting practices more transparent to the public.


Read about the paper


More than the Math: Realities of a Weighted Student Formula in Twin Rivers

March 2012

SSFR team member Cristin Quealy recently shared her perspective on the development and implementation of a school-level weighted student funding formula in the Silicon Valley Community Foundation blog, Thoughts on Public Education (Op-Ed). Drawing on her first-hand experiences and insight from working with Twin Rivers to implement SSFR, Cristin describes how the district is moving toward greater equity, transparency, autonomy, and accountability.


KQED’s Forum Highlights SSFR in Twin Rivers USD

January 2012

Mahala Archer (SSFR project manager in Twin Rivers USD) was interviewed on KQED’s Forum along with Michael Kirst, President of the State Board of Education and Eric Heins, Vice President of the California Teachers Association. The segment focused on Governor Brown’s proposal to shift much of the control over education funds from the state to districts. Rather than allocating money to districts through categorical programs, Brown is proposing a weighted pupil funding system through which the state would allocate money based on districts’ populations of low-income and English Learner students.

Archer discussed how the SSFR initiative in Twin Rivers USD is applying a similar weighted pupil funding system at the district level. The district aims to increase efficiency, transparency, and equity in the use of funds by giving principals greater discretion over how to allocate resources in the manner best for their schools. According to Archer, nearly eighty percent of resources are now managed on site in SSFR pilot schools, compared to thirty five percent of resources they managed before the initiative was implemented. In accordance with this increase in autonomy, Archer emphasized that SSFR will strengthen school accountability for student outcomes.

The additional flexibility offered under the Governor’s proposal will make it easier for districts to implement and extend such needs-based funding approaches down to the school level, providing schools with more autonomy in how they meet the needs of the students they serve.

Listen to the program


>> Features Archive