Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James H. Stronge


For the first time in 15 years in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a major restructuring in the elementary and secondary education finance formula was enacted during the 1988 General Assembly and revenue for education was increased by {dollar}576 million for the upcoming biennium. The overriding purpose of these modifications was to reduce disparities between more and less affluent school systems. The problem of educational disparity is not unique to Virginia. Over the last 20 years, between 60 and 70 individual pieces of litigation have been filed, contesting the constitutionality of public school finance systems in 41 of the United States. In 1990 alone, state courts found three states' education funding formulae to be in violation of those states' constitutions, and the state of Kentucky called for the restructuring of the entire system of public education. The Coalition for Equity in Education Funding filed suit against the Commonwealth of Virginia in the circuit court for the city of Richmond on June 12, 1992. The suit, which was filed on behalf of 31 local school boards and students in those school divisions, asked the court for a judgment declaring that the current system of funding public elementary and secondary schools to be declared unconstitutional because it denies children from less affluent school divisions an educational opportunity that is equal to that of children who attend public school in wealthier divisions in the Commonwealth of Virginia.;The purpose of this study is to analyze the Virginia school finance system in order to determine: (1) whether disparities in revenue for education have been reduced between pupils in high and low fiscal capacity school divisions as a result of the 1988 changes in the financing system in education, and (2) if the relationship between a locality's fiscal capacity and its educational expenditure has changed subsequent to the 1988 Virginia General Assembly's restructuring of the school financing system.;Five research questions were investigated using a correlational methodology. Upon analyzing the data, the following are some of the conclusions drawn: (1) When range was used, the disparity increased between 1988 and 1992; (2) A high positive correlation does exist between ability-to-pay as measured by the composite index and total per pupil expenditure; and (3) A high positive correlation does exist between per pupil expenditure from local funds and total per pupil expenditure. Recommendations are made for future research.



© The Author