ERIC Number: ED333571
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Jul-5
Expenditures in Public School Districts: Why Do They Differ? CRS Report for Congress.
Riddle, Wayne Clifton
In almost all states, there is substantial local variation in per pupil expenditures for public elementary and secondary education. This results from the mix of state, local, and federal revenues received by most local educational agencies (LEAs), local variations in student needs, cost of providing services, and ability and willingness to raise local revenues. National interest in such variations is increasing, due to several state supreme court decisions regarding the constitutionality of state school financing systems. Also, the ability of LEAs to pay for mandated reforms has been questioned. A bill (H.R. 3850) has been introduced in the 101st Congress providing federal support for greater equalization of state school finance programs. Problems arise concerning the definition of "equal spending per pupil." State school finance programs frequently distribute aid in proportion to each LEA's number of "high cost" pupils, rather than in proportion to total enrollment. Another important factor is differences in taxable resources per pupil--the ability to pay for education. A major barrier to analyzing expenditure variations is lack of a reliable national data source. The Census Bureau's 1986-87 survey of school finances is the most current source, but the quality of data for individual LEAs is questionable. In this report, two measures of expenditure disparity are calculated for each state: the range of expenditures between the 10 highest and 10 lowest spending LEAs in the state; and the coefficient of variation from the mean. The analysis proved inconclusive regarding local causality factors influencing per pupil expenditure variations. (Author/MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Congressional Research Service.