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A longitudinal analysis of the equity of public school funding in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Hiller, Richard B.
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The purpose of this study was to analyze commonly used indices of public school funding equity for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the school years 1982-83 through 1992-93. The variables of market value of property, actual instructional expense (AlE), local plus state revenue (revenue), average daily membership (ADM) and weighted average daily membership (W ADM) were collected for five hundred similarly operated school districts. Equity statistics on the variables were generated using a program developed by Verstegen and Stevens (1991). The relationship between the equity statistics generated and legislative actions associated with school funding for the Commonwealth were analyzed. Additionally, an alternative method of funding schools in the Commonwealth was developed based on the 1992-93 school year data. In general, the statistics generated showed a decrease in equity of AIE and revenue distributions from the 1982-83 school year through 1989-90. The last few years studied indicated improvement in the distributions, with the primary source of improvement being a change in the method of state support for special education. The legislative efforts to improve overall support for school districts, especially those found at the less wealthy end of the wealth spectrum, were diminished by the funding formula methodology. This methodology has since been eliminated, and replaced with a guaranteed foundation level of funding, which is still hampered by political considerations. The system of funding public schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has changed dramatically in the last several years in an attempt to meet the educational mandate found in the constitution of the Commonwealth. The equity statistics and analyses presented here indicate that the system has fallen short of meeting that goal during the period studied.
- Doctoral Dissertations