The Complexity Index

School children studying chemistry
Image from ICPE Notes

 – and why you should care about it


Why does it cost more
to educate children
who live in poverty?

  1. Children who grow up in homes of poverty have fewer early childhood educational opportunities.
  2. Children in single-parent homes, or homes where parents have to work evenings, more often experience deficits in language development.
  3. Children who grow up in poverty start school significantly behind their wealthier peers.
  4. Children who grow up in poverty are less likely to be exposed to adults with advanced educational degrees.
  5. Impoverished parents cannot afford the cost of additional tutoring or even transportation to the public library or their school for additional support.
  6. Students who grow up in poverty are more likely to experience medical and emotional trauma.
  7. Public schools that serve the highest proportion of students of poverty need to provide more resources for academic aides, tutoring staff, nurses and social workers than are needed in schools serving wealthy families.
  8. Schools of poverty need to provide more after-school and summer remediation programs.
  9. Schools of poverty need to offer competitive salaries to attract and hold highly qualified teachers.


Find out more in this article by Dr. Tony Lux, school superintendent

What is the complexity index?

The Indiana General Assembly establishes a per-pupil basic tuition support amount for each budget year. Multiply that times the district’s number of students (ADM) on count day in the fall and spring, and it is the state-funded amount school districts receive for general classroom expenses, including teacher pay.

The complexity index is a component of school funding that allocates additional money to school districts based upon the number of disadvantaged students served.It is based on a district’s poverty level and other factors. 

Why is the complexity index important now?

Some legislators are again asking why disadvantaged students need additional funding beyond the basic school formula.

What you can do about it?

Understand the issues and discuss them with people in your social circles.