Date of Award

8-1-1974

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

School

School of Education

Degree Name

Ed.D.

First Advisor

Dr. Robert H. Hatch

Abstract

This final report is sundered into six parts. The introduction consists of the purpose, justification. delineations, limitations, and hypotheses for the study. Chapter II establishes some historical and philosophical framework for the study. Essentially, this section sets forth some ideological concomitants which gave rise to a dual system of public education in the State of Georgia. In Chapter III, some literature which concerns the theories of public school finance in America, and developmental phenomena of the discipline are reviewed. A review of recent school finance litigati·on is also presented.

The methodology used in this report is outlined in Chapter IV. A description of the data and the collection of data are related to two concepts which are considered germane to the study. These are: (1) fiscal neutrality/equity, which is interpreted as including the neutrality of wealth, as well as neutrality of ethnic background; and (2) District Power Equalizing, which is viewed as an alternative fiscal strategy adopted by the Georgia General Assembly in an attempt to more fully equalize the distribution of educational funds throughout the State.

Data which are related to fiscal equity in the State of Georgia are presented and interpreted in Chapter V. Several factors were examined in this regard for their possible correlation with the ethnic composition of local school districts. The wealth of local school districts was approached in terms of property, income, and the number of Title I students. Local effort was viewed as the relative degree to which local citizens assessed themselves for the fiscal support of public education. Educational resources were considered in terms of the yield of revenue from ad valorem taxes and state aid to local units of administration. Comparisons were made between per pupil expenditures for maintenance and operation under the current Minimum Foundation Program of Education in Georgia and the recently enacted District Power Equalizing legislation.

Finally, Chapter VI is devoted to a surmnation;of findings, the statement of conclusions, and recommendations. These were centered around the 1972-73 per pupil fiscal support for local school districts which were significantly Black as correlated with those which enrolled a preponderance of Caucasian pupils.

The Study The purpose of this study was to ascertain if relationships existed between fiscal support and the ethnic composition of local school districts in the State of Georgia. As such, the ethnic composition of city and county school systems in the State was correlated with: (1) the wealth of school districts; (2) local tax effort; and (3) educational resources. The following null-hypotheses were tested:

H01-There is no measurable relationship existing between the levels of fiscal support of local school districts in the State of Georgia and the ethnic composition of those school districts.

Ha1-There is a measurable relationship existing between the levels of fiscal support of local school districts in the State of Georgia and the ethnic composition of those school districts.

H02-There are no disparities in the Georgia system of public school finance which are weighted against school districts which are significantly Black.

Ha2-There are disparities in the Georgia system of public school finance which are weighted against school districts which are significantly Black.

H03-District Power Equalizing, as adopted by the Georgia General Assembly, will not significantly affect the relative position of school districts which are significantly Black.

Ha3-District Power Equalizing, as adopted by the Georgia General Assembly, will significantly affect the relative position of school districts which are significantly Black.

The criteria for evaluation in this study was that of equity, rather than unqual ified fiscal neutral ity. ~Jhile the concept of fiscal neutrality requires that local wealth may not be the determinant of the level of a community's educational offerings, equity entails far more than this. The major elements of contemporary concepts of equity in public school finance were itemized.

Conclusions An historical approach to fiscal relationships in the State of Georgia was undertaken in this study, attempting to assess the impact of these relationships on school districts which were significantly Black. The findings of this report substantiate the prevalence of fiscal disparities in Georgia's system of public school finance which were correlated with the ethnic composition of local school districts, as follows:

1. When property wealth, income wealth. and the number of Title I students are considered. there were disparities in the ability of local citizens to support public education in school districts which were significantly Black.

2. When ad valorem tax millage rates were considered. school districts which were significantly Black tended to exert greater tax effort than did local school districts which were low Black.

3. Although, basically, the MFPE program had an equalizing effect at the State level. grave disparities prevailed in the provision of enrichment funds throughout the State.

4. A disportionate number of Black students resided in urban school districts which are confronted with problems of municipal overburden, low income, and cost differentials.

5. Under simulation. state aid for District Power Equalizing was inversely related to the percentage of Black people living within a school district.

6. Under simulation, District Power Equalizing had a more favorable impact on county school districts than on independent school districts.

7. When simulated, District Power Equalizing had a more beneficial impact on non-SMSA school districts than on SMSA school districts.

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