From Districts to Schools: The Distribution of Resources Across Schools in Big City School Districts

Symposium on Education Finance and Organization Structure in NYS Schools, Albany, NY, March 2004

NYU Wagner Research Paper No. 2715832

Posted: 14 Jan 2016

See all articles by Amy Ellen Schwartz

Amy Ellen Schwartz

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research; New York University (NYU) - Institute for Education and Social Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Leanna Stiefel

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Ross Rubenstein

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 1, 2004

Abstract

This paper explores the determinants of resource allocation across schools in large districts and examines options for improving resource distribution patterns. Previous research on intra-district allocations consistently reveals resource disparities across schools within districts, particularly in the distribution of teachers. While overall expenditures are sometimes related to the characteristics of students in schools, the ratio of teachers per pupil is consistently larger in high poverty, high-minority and low-performing schools. These teachers, though, generally have lower experience and education levels -- and consequently, lower salaries -- as compared to teachers in more advantaged schools. We explore these patterns in New York City, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio by estimating de facto expenditure equations relating resource measures to school and student characteristics. Consistent with previous research, we find schools that have higher percentages of poor pupils receive more money and have more teachers per pupil, but the teachers tend to be less educated and less well paid, with a particularly consistent pattern in New York City schools. The paper concludes with policy options for changing intra-district resource distributions in order to promote more efficient, more equitable or more effective use of resources. These options include allocating dollars rather than teacher positions to schools, providing teacher pay differentials in hard-to-staff schools and subjects, and adapting current district-based funding formulas to the school (and student) level.

Suggested Citation

Schwartz, Amy Ellen and Stiefel, Leanna and Rubenstein, Ross, From Districts to Schools: The Distribution of Resources Across Schools in Big City School Districts (March 1, 2004). Symposium on Education Finance and Organization Structure in NYS Schools, Albany, NY, March 2004; NYU Wagner Research Paper No. 2715832. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2715832

Amy Ellen Schwartz (Contact Author)

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244
United States

New York University (NYU) - Institute for Education and Social Policy ( email )

United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Leanna Stiefel

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )

Public and Nonprofit Management and the Policy Pro
4 Washington Square North
New York, NY 10003
United States

Ross Rubenstein

Syracuse University - Center for Policy Research ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244
United States

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