Date Approved

2006

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

William, Price, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Donald Bennion, PhD

Committee Member

Nelson Maylone, EdD

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to compare two districts with somewhat similar demographics but with dissimilar revenues to see whether or not additional funding per child resulted in enhanced learning opportunities for students in the higher funded district. In addition, although not a primary function of this study, student achievement was considered as a possible outcome for students who had enhanced learning opportunities.

Because public school funding is determined by policy makers, three public policy questions were the basis for comparing the two districts. The three questions were as follows: (a) Should a child’s zip code determine the amount of money spent on his/her education? (b) Is the current minimum funding provided to the majority of schools in the state of Michigan “adequate”? and (c) Do schools that receive more than the minimum funding per student use that money to provide enhanced learning opportunities for their students?

The specific enhanced learning opportunities that were examined in this study were as follows: (a) K-3class size; (b) special reading programs, especially in lower elementary; (c) advanced placement/honor classes; (d) foreign language courses; (e) music, art, and athletics; and (f) continued teacher learning. The results of this study revealed that the higher funded school district provided enhanced learning opportunities to a much greater degree than did the lower funded school district. The only area that was comparable was that of K-3class size. It was very evident that the higher funded school district spent its additional funding on areas that benefited students. This may be one of the reasons that the students in the higher funded school district had much higher MEAP and standardized test scores.

Comments

Additional Committee member: Ronald Williamson, EdD

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