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Journal for Effective Schools

Volume 11, Number 1

Education Lab et al., 2000). Wildavsky (2001) remarked, “The line item budget is a product of history, not of logic” (p. 139). As the high stakes public accountability calls for holding school districts, schools, and teachers accountable for certain metrics of students learning, a budgeting approach solely focused on what is purchased (or the inputs) is at odds with the legislation’s intent. Likewise, as NCLB calls for specific performance results, it seems counterintuitive that school divisions would continue to employ an incremental approach which never reviews district priorities as a whole (Wildavsky, 2001; Davis, Dempster, & Wildavsky, 1966). A growing body of research is devoted to budget methods that explicitly attempt to tie funding decisions (inputs) to specific performance outcomes (outputs). These methods are called by a number of names: Performance-Based Budgeting, Results-Based Budgeting (Friedman & Finance Project, 1996), Outcomes-Based budgeting, Performance-Driven Budgeting (Siegel & ERIC Development Team, 2003). Burke and State University of New York (1997) indicated performance-based budgeting “represents a dramatic shift in traditional budget practice” (p. 1). For this research study, the indicators of performance-based budgeting include:  Strategic plans and related goals and priorities are formalized and utilized within the school district  The budget process is open/transparent and involves stakeholder involvement  The budget process includes consideration of alternative service delivery methods  Performance goals are established and resources are linked to those goals  Budget decisions are data informed, including developing and reporting performance indicators (that are in line with the district’s strategic goals)  The process encourages active "program" evaluation (and links these evaluations to budget discussions)  The budget process results in a reallocation (reprogramming) of funds (shifting resources to more effective activities)  The district actively seeks to link resources (inputs) to specific results (outputs and/or outcomes) Research Design In order to address the research questions, the case study’s design is both descriptive (identifying current school district budget practices) and correlational (analyzing the relationship between performance-based budgeting and student achievement). Mixed (quantitative and qualitative) methods were used to address the research questions. Quantitative methods include budget practice surveys and


Journal for Effective Schools - Spring 2013  

Vol. 11, #1