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ERIC Number: ED533220
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar
Pages: 51
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 5
A Case Study of Title I Comparability in Three California School Districts
Haxton, Clarisse; de los Reyes, Iliana Brodziak; Chambers, Jay; Levin, Jesse; Cruz, Lisa
American Institutes for Research
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is due for reauthorization, and Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman Chakkah Fattah have both proposed revisions to the comparability provision of the federal Title I program. Harkin's proposed legislation requires the use of per pupil expenditures, including actual teacher salaries, to demonstrate comparability. This report is the result of a case study in three California districts--Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), and Twin Rivers Unified School District (TRUSD)--to examine the following research question: "Would our three case study districts be able to use per pupil expenditures to demonstrate comparability?" The case study this report is based on contained three components. First, we conducted a document analysis to understand the approach currently used in each district to demonstrate comparability. We found that all three of the study districts used student-instructional staff ratios and grade span groupings to demonstrate comparability in 2009-10. Second, we conducted analyses of per pupil spending to examine resource equity across schools within each district. We found the following: (1) Title I schools, on average, have higher total per pupil expenditures (which makes sense because Title I and other federal funds are added to their state and local base resources); (2) On average, state and local base expenditures are similar across Title I and non-Title I schools; (3) Although, on average, schools with higher percentages of low-income students have higher levels of per pupil spending out of state and local base revenues, at any given poverty level, there is a wide range of spending across schools; and (4) Many schools fall below the 90 percent lower limit that is currently required for demonstrating comparability using an overall per pupil expenditure metric. This variation persists when we restrict the analysis to focus on instructional per pupil expenditures. Third, we facilitated discussions with key district officials about the per pupil expenditure analysis. They recognized that shifting to per pupil expenditures would be a major change, expressed concerns, and provided suggestions to enable LEAs to ensure resource comparability across Title I and non-Title I schools. Under the new Title I legislation being considered by Congress, the shift from metric flexibility, including student-instructional staff ratios, to the requirement of using per pupil expenditures to demonstrate comparability represents a substantive shift in federal policy. Our research demonstrates that the proposed requirement would help to close some of the major loopholes in the current comparability provision to improve resource equity across schools within districts. However, our study also reveals several challenges for Congress to address as they debate and make legislative changes to the comparability provision in the ESEA reauthorization process. Appended are: (1) Standardized Accounting Code Structure (SACS) Identifiers; (2) Resource Classification according to the Object Code of the SACS; (3) Ordinary Least Square Regression Model; (4) LAUSD Graphs; (5) PUSD Graphs; and (6) TRUSD Graphs. (Contains 3 exhibits, 19 graphs and 17 footnotes.) [Funding for this paper was provided by the Regional Education Laboratory (REL) West.]
American Institutes for Research. 1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007. Tel: 202-403-5000; Fax: 202-403-5001; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Institutes for Research
Identifiers - Location: California
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act