Fiscal Effort and Educational Efficiency in Virginia During the 2012-2013 Academic Year




Wright, Dustin

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This study examines fiscal effort and educational efficiency in Virginia’s school divisions during the 2012-2013 academic year. This analysis considers multiple educational inputs and outputs, as well as school division spending behaviors and community characteristics. The disparity of fiscal effort amongst local school divisions in Virginia is analyzed. This measure is combined with an educational efficiency metric that identifies school divisions that are maximizing their educational outputs relative to their fiscal inputs. These metrics are examined in an attempt to find commonalities amongst school divisions with similar levels of fiscal effort and educational efficiency in order to identify exemplars that can shape future fiscal policy and funding methods. Results show that there is great disparity among school divisions in Virginia in terms of their fiscal effort, and that these differences are not systematically related to such metrics as poverty rate, geographic location, of wealth, suggesting that differences are largely related to local policy and decision making choice related to spending. Analyses show, further, that school divisions that are most efficient in their spending chose to devote greater proportions of their resources on factors that relate to teachers and teaching directly. Findings suggest that research on fiscal effort may be a fruitful path for further research, and measures of efficiency promise to reveal important patterns that have implications for research and policy at the state and local levels.



Educational leadership, Education finance, Educational Efficiency, Education Finance, Education Funding, Fiscal Effort