Ministers want firm proposals by the end of August and civil servants, council officials and teacher unions meet next Friday to thrash out options.
The new funding formula could mean a national basic entitlement for every pupil, with more money in deprived areas. Such a formula would restrict each council's power to decide per-pupil funding themselve.
The goal for the system to change is 2002. There are two options on the way money could be allocated to schools - either a straight primarysecondary split or budgets for each of the four key stages.
Heads and governors could also be put in charge of sharing cash among schools.
The Government is also considering sending out tables of funding per pupil with council tax bills so voters can see how much their council should be passing on to schools.