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Journal for Effective Schools

Volume 11, Number 1

2. What budgeting methods do the school districts use? Are current school district budgeting practices moving away from traditional methods (which tend to make incremental changes to existing budget allocations) and towards performance-based budgeting systems? 3. Does a correlation exist between the school district’s use of performancebased budgeting and the level of student achievement? Key Words: performance based budgeting, No Child Left Behind, student Type of Article: quantitative and qualitative study with implications for practitioners Does money matter? Revenues for K-12 schools are down in California 10% as compared with 2007-2008 (Edwards, 2011). A Pennsylvania State Board of Education sponsored report noted that the state underfunds the schools by $4.6 billion a year (Dean, 2007). However, considerable debate exists over whether the amount of funds actually makes a difference in overall student achievement. Various studies have addressed whether funding makes a difference in student learning outcomes (Jefferson, 2005; Archibald, 2006; Ilon & Normore, 2006; Okpala, 2002; Odden, Goetz, & Picus, 2007; Willis, Durante, & Gazzerro, 2007). In her study of a Nevada school district’s categorical expenditures, Archibald (2006) found a significantly positive relationship between per-pupil spending and reading achievement (but not in mathematics). In a meta-analysis of the research on the topic, Hedges, Laine, and Greenwald (1994) determined that numerous studies reported a positive correlation between increased resources and higher student achievement. In contrast, a number of studies report little or no significant impact of the level of resources and student achievement (e.g., Hanushek, 1989; Okpala, 2002). In referencing the amount of education spending, Odden and Picus (2007) suggested: “[T]oday, the nation’s investment in K-12 education is almost enough to adequately fund an educational program that can double student performance…” (p. 40). Despite the lack of universal agreement as to whether money, by itself, makes a difference in student achievement, most researchers agree the purposes toward which schools spend its money impacts student learning (e.g., Jefferson, 2005; Odden, Borman, & Fermanich, 2004; Odden et al., 2007; Willis et al., 2007; Baker et al., 2010). As suggested in a Standard and Poor’s report of Pennsylvania school finances, how much a school spends is less important than how it is spent (Gehring, 2002). Therefore, it is clear that exploring how resources are allocated is critically important as they impact educational programs. As such, it is imperative that school


Journal for Effective Schools - Spring 2013  

Vol. 11, #1