Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to analyze the Virginia system of school finance from 1979 through 1986 to determine the degree of comprehensive resource equity and funding adequacy for pupils and public school divisions. The study extends prior research by assessing the effectiveness of the current finance system on the basis of three principles of equity and two measures of funding adequacy. Five different years of financial data were analyzed and 13 different variables of educational resource inputs, outputs, wealth, and effort were gathered and measured. The financial data included in this study were drawn from 133 public school divisions and approximately one million pupils in Virginia public schools.;Three principles of equity were examined: horizontal equity, equal opportunity, and vertical equity. Adequacy was measured by examining the equal opportunity principle for school divisions and pupils grouped by local characteristics on a scale of urbanization and by comparing state funding efforts to ensure a sufficient educational program for all pupils. A unique application of discriminant analysis was used to isolate differences among urban, suburban and rural school divisions. The findings of these analyses produced the following conclusions: (1) that Virginia has not achieved a reasonable level of horizontal equity. Marginal, but consistent, progress was noted from 1983 to 1986 as state funding increased. (2) that Virginia does not provide equal opportunity in its funding efforts. The link between local wealth and educational expenditures, although declining, is still unreasonably high. (3) that Virginia has a particularly poor record in providing appropriate support for special need pupils. Vertical equity for disadvantaged and vocational pupils represents a serious deficiency in the state funding scheme. (4) that the legislative policy of encouraging teacher salary increases has triggered a decline in equity among school divisions. (5) that significant differences exist in educational resources between school divisions classified by urbanization. (6) that future studies concerning Virginia school finance should utilize the pupil unit of analysis in order to reflect more accurately the impact of financial alternatives.



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