In most cases, the money to pay for schools comes from taxes. Some money comes from the federal government, especially in areas that are poor. Some money comes from the state government, but the amount allotted to each school district depends on the laws of the state and the needs of the school district. Areas that are poor usually need the most money, but schools in financially disadvantaged areas don't always get what they need. This is because the taxes that support schools are usually in the form of property taxes. Wealthy school districts are able to raise more money through property taxes than poor school districts. While Americans try to provide fair and equal access to a good education for all people, children who attend schools in wealthier areas benefit the most when it comes to schooling.

The vast majority of public schools are funded through local taxing authorities in the form of residential property taxes. Local businesses also help with funding as they are taxed according to arrangements made with local government, but most of the money comes from homeowners who live within the area of the school district. The wealthier an area is, the more money there is provided to the schools. Disparities in funding are made up through state and federal oversight, but the reality is this: school districts in poor areas have less money to work with than school districts that are located in wealthy areas. If you are moving to the United States and need to enroll your children in school, it is very important that you are aware of this.  

Private schools are funded by tuition paid by parents or guardians who have chosen, for a variety of reasons, not to send their children to public schools.  Parochial schools, or schools oriented around a religious belief, are popular in the United States; however, they are expensive. The most common parochial schools are Catholic, followed by schools associated with Christian denominations. There are also schools for children who are Jewish, Muslim, or of other faiths. In a country that espouses freedom of religion, there are many choices. If you happen to send your child to a religious school, be aware that there is time devoted to religious studies. Religious schools also operate on a much smaller budget than their public counterparts, and this can have an impact on class sizes, teacher quality, or the availability of extracurricular activities.

It is also possible to educate your children at home. This is called homeschooling. In a homeschooling situation, some money may be provided by the state for books and other small expenses, but the responsibility of providing an education comes directly from the parents or a person the parents hire to teach in the home. Parents choose homeschooling for the children because they don't like the public school system that's available to them, private school is too expensive, or the parents think they can do a better job of educating their children regardless of the options that are available. Because school is mandatory for children under the age of 16 or 17 (laws vary state to state), homeschooling is a choice for parents who don't want to break the law.



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