Date of Award

1988

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Terry G. Geske

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the Louisiana school funding system on two dimensions of student equity: equality of opportunity and equal treatment of equals. This was accomplished by assessing alternate year data from 1977-78 to 1985-86 in order to document changes, if any, that occurred in the equality associated with the distribution of state and local revenue. Berne and Stiefel's (1984) conceptual framework for measuring equity was utilized to determine the variables and measures used. Of first importance was the investigation of equal opportunity. This principle was represented by the fiscal neutrality standard, which was defined as a lack of relationship between per-pupil revenue and local fiscal capacity. In order to provide a more comprehensive assessment, local fiscal capacity was alternately specified as (a) property valuation per average daily membership (ADM), (b) sales tax capacity per ADM, and (c) combined property valuation and sales tax capacity per ADM. For each specification, multiple measures assessing the strength of the relationship between per-pupil revenue and capacity per ADM were applied. The second principle of student equity, equal treatment of equals, was represented by the degree of disparity among per-pupil state-local revenue and was again multiply assessed. Three univariate measures determined the degree of dispersion in the distributions of per-pupil revenue for the five years included in the evaluation. A secondary analysis explored the interrelationship among three local sources of school revenue for 1977-78, 1981-82 and 1985-86. The conclusions were drawn from the analysis. First, there was observable change in both fiscal neutrality and degree of disparity in per-pupil revenue. Second, the results associated with the two principles conflicted. Fiscal neutrality worsened from 1977-78 to 1988-86, whereas disparity in revenues per pupil improved for the general school population, but not for students in the lower half of the distribution.

Pages

206

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