School funding issues conclusions

 Conclusion and Implications
The purpose of this study was to examine factors influencing
the thoughts and perceptions of statewide policy makers
engaged in the process of funding schools. Alabama has 140
legislators and 132 school superintendents. They collectively
represent a very diverse group of constituents as well as personal backgrounds and experiences. In addition, they vary in
their level of understanding of the political process and their
understanding of quality school programs. Superintendents
and legislators must gain a clearer understanding of each
other’s thinking to develop effective strategies for establishing a consensus for change. 

Identifying differences and similarities between superintendents and legislators can provide
directives for future consensus initiatives relative to securing
and deploying additional resources. The outcomes of this
study should be useful to both groups as they gain an
enhanced understanding of each other’s perspectives related
to school funding.
Evidence was found to conclude there is a difference
between legislators and superintendents on the factor of
equity and adequacy; furthermore, the typical legislator
scored 2.14 points higher than superintendents on this factor.
The mean factor scores on Equity and Adequacy are actually
weighted averages based on eight survey items. Of these
eight items, superintendents outscored legislators on only
two of the factor items. In addition, of these two factors only
one factor difference was statistically significant and the
other factor difference indicated an emerging trend toward
significance. The two survey items are number 10 and 12.
Survey item 10 states, “Districts should be required to
contribute a local match in an amount greater than 10 mills in
order to receive state funds.” The median response for legislators was agreement, but the median response for superintendents was disagreement. Efforts could be made to inform
legislators that most states require a local match much higher
than 10 mills required in Alabama. This low threshold results
in a funding model that is primarily dependent on state
appropriations. An increase in local match would provide
more stable funding for the districts and take some of the
pressure off the legislators to meet the needs for providing
adequate state funds. This represents an opportunity to build
consensus and capitalize upon a win-win outcome for both
Survey item 12 states, “State implemented achievement
tests are the best in assessing the performance of a school
district.” The median response among legislators was neutrality, while the median response among superintendents was
disagreement. The difference between the two groups shows
that there is a predisposed tendency to view school success by
multiple factors, especially on the part of superintendents.

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