Date of Award

5-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

David Piper

Second Advisor

Sue Rieg

Third Advisor

Kelli Paquette

Abstract

The public school system in Pennsylvania has experienced academic and financial challenges over the past 10 years. In June 2006, the state government passed the Taxpayer Relief Act, also referred to as Act 1. The Act was later revised in 2011 and limits the ability of school districts to increase taxes beyond a set limit without voter approval (Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2018). Given Act 1, the problem for school district stakeholders is to know how much money is enough to adequately educate students to meet the expected level of achievement on the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile (SPP) website.

The purpose of this study was to analyze data from Pennsylvania school districts and determine if the dollar amount spent in specific areas influenced SPP scores. In this quantitative study, archival information was retrieved, reviewed, and compared against other public schools in Pennsylvania.

The researcher reviewed the SPP scores of schools in three categories: small schools (with student enrollment of fewer than 1,500 students), medium schools (with enrollment from 1,500 through 4,999 students), and large schools (with enrollments of 5,000 or more students). Specifically, the researcher examined the amount of spending per student in each district. In addition, the cost per student was compared against the average SPP scores of schools with scores in the following ranges: 0–69, 70–79, and 80 and above, respectively. Furthermore, the researcher analyzed and categorized additional variables, including each school’s special education percentage and the percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch (students who are considered to be economically disadvanataged).

This study began with five null hypotheses. The null hypothesis for question #1, There is no relationship between per pupil expenditures in instruction and SPP scores, is rejected. Given the data and research conducted on instructional expenditures in regular education (accounting code 1100), special education (accounting code 1200), and vocational education (accounting 1300), significant relationships were identified. Small and medium school districts that spend more money on special education (1200) are more likely to have lower SPP scores. In addition, medium schools that spend more per student in regular education (1100) are more likely to have higher SPP scores. Lastly, large school districts that spend more money on vocational education (1300) expenditures are more likely to have lower Weighted SPP scores.

Null Hypothesis 2, There is no relationship between per pupil expenditures in support services and SPP scores, is rejected. Given the data and research conducted on student support services (accounting code 2100), staff support services (accounting code 2200), and administration of support services (accounting 2300), the per student expenditures had significant correlations and predictability on weighted SPP scores. Medium-sized schools that spend more money in student support services (2100) are more likely to have higher SPP scores.

Null Hypothesis 3, There is no relationship between per pupil expenditures and federal dollars received by the district and SPP scores, is rejected. Given the data and research conducted on per pupil federal expenditures, significant relationships were found. Overall, schools that spend more on per pupil federal expenditures are more likely to have lower SPP Scores.

Null Hypothesis 4, There is no relationship between per pupil expenditures and federal dollars received by the district and SPP scores, is rejected. Given the data and research conducted on per pupil federal expenditures, significant relationships were found. Overall, schools that spend higher amounts on per pupil federal expenditures are more likely to have lower SPP Scores.

Null Hypothesis 5, There is no relationship between an SPP score and other factors, is rejected. Given the data and research conducted on special education, economically disadvantaged, and students who are English Language Learners, as well as regular education significant correlations were found.

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