School funding and student achievement: Regression instructional spending against pupil results

Judith Ann Stegmaier Nappi, Fordham University


This study was conducted to examine district school level equity as well as the relationship between the funding of public education and student outcomes. Utilizing the Coopers & Lybrand LLP computerized reporting tool called the Finance Analysis Model (FAM), data were gathered from 82 schools in the Southwell school district located in the midwest section of the central states. The Southwell School District ledger for 1993-1994 was submitted for FAM analysis, producing school-site costs by the five basic functions: instruction, instructional support, operations, other commitments, and leadership; by program, including special education, general education, bilingual education, Title I and II, vocational education, and other programs; and by location, school site, central office, or nonallocated. It was found that overall, elementary schools spent less but evidenced far greater differences in distribution of expenditures than junior high and high schools and had less equity as indicated by measures of dispersion. In regard to equity, two major findings emerged. First, although previous studies have indicated that state-wide comparisons are weak (Hertert, 1995), this study provides evidence that multi-functional analysis is superior to one school-site variation. Second, districts need to provide school-site specific data for each school and program in order to avoid the equalizing effect of distributing expenditures on a per pupil basis. A production function analysis determined that schools need to allocate more dollars to program support, program development, and material. This study found that money spent on program development, auxiliary personnel, social workers, therapists, psychologists, evaluators, and materials was the most important predictor of California Achievement Test (CAT) scores at the second-, fourth-, and sixth-grade levels. Per pupil cost was found to be the most important predictor of CAT scores at the 10th grade level. The percentage of students in accelerated programs was an important predictor variable of CAT scores at all levels. These findings elucidate the importance of dollars getting into the classroom.

Subject Area

School administration|School finance

Recommended Citation

Stegmaier Nappi, Judith Ann, "School funding and student achievement: Regression instructional spending against pupil results" (1997). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9809012.