Resource allocation and productivity: A financial analysis of New York City high schools

Robert Sarrel, Fordham University


This research examines the funding of urban schools from two interrelated perspectives: one based on a fund flow analysis, tracing the distribution of resources for overhead and classroom activities; and, the second, a correlation analysis relating the use of funds to student outcomes. A cascade paradigm analysis examines the per pupil allocation to the New York City Board of Education, through the board to its various responsibility centers, ultimately to schools. Administrative costs, or overhead occur on each funding level, and some tiers are purely for administrative costs. When dollars arrive at schools, still more are used for administration, enabling even fewer dollars to directly impact on students. Among the questions researched was how funds are divided between instruction and non-instruction, since the contention is that allocation inefficiencies occur when excessive funds are spent for non-pedagogical items. Other research questions concern the relationship between dollars for instruction, as a percentage of the amount allocated to the school (Instructional Index), and key control, throughput, and outcome variables. How does the allocation of funds for instruction relate to vital school processes and pupil achievement? The key throughputs studied are class size and curriculum index as related to school attainments. This study also assesses the relationship between school budget allocation by category of expenditures, and school outputs which include Degree of Reading Power tests, Regents Examination results, Scholastic Aptitude Test Results, Attendance Rates, Graduation Rates, and reported Incidents and Suspensions, school by school, and by type of school. A budget line analysis is done to help explain the cascade of dollars. Pearson product-moment correlations are performed among the input, control, throughput, and output variables. The cascade shows that less than one third of the dollars that are allocated for education get to students via instructional services. The univariate correlations calculated indicate that the use of funds at the school level seem to correlate (p $<$.01) with important outcome measures for all types of high schools in general except Alternative High Schools.

Subject Area

School finance|School administration|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Sarrel, Robert, "Resource allocation and productivity: A financial analysis of New York City high schools" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9123124.