Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ed.D.

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Bobbie J. Greenlee, Ed.D.

Keywords

State, Funding, Public, School, Distribution

Abstract

In 1973, the state of Florida implemented the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP). The program was developed to distribute available funds to public school districts in a more equitable manner than the Minimum Foundation Plan it replaced. Almost immediately, the Florida Education Finance Program came under attack as less equitable and unnecessarily complex. The Florida Education Finance Program provides funding to local school districts based on the number students and the types of educational programs in which they are enrolled. Through a system of program cost factors and district cost differentials the Florida Education Finance Program adjusts for the type of students and the economic environment the district serves.

But does it distribute funds equitably? This study was designed to answer one central research question: "Does the Florida Education Finance Program equitably distribute available funding to public school districts in the state?" In order to answer this question, a three phase method was implemented. In the first phase a chronological development of Florida's school finance plan was developed. The second phase employed research based statistical tools to gauge the distributional equity of Florida's mechanism for distributing available funds for Florida public school districts. The final phase used Pearson product-moment correlations to gauge the fiscal neutrality of the system. The study is patterned after a similar study completed in 1982 that called into question the distributional equity of the Florida Education Finance Program.

The coefficient of variation, federal range ratio, McLoone index, Verstegen index, and Gini coefficient are all research based measures of distributional equity that are resistant to inflationary pressure. Each of these measures of distributional equity yielded the same results. They showed a high level of equity in the distribution of available funding to Florida's public school districts through the Florida Education Finance Program. This study left open the questions of adequacy and the role of the state in funding public education in the state of Florida to future study.

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