Advertisement

Essential Steps to Assessing a School System’s Fiscal Health

  • Joshua R. ZenderEmail author
  • Kenneth A. Smith
  • John R. Kurpierz
Chapter

Abstract

Academic researchers serve a critical role in helping school districts achieve fiscal sustainability. This chapter examines techniques for capturing, organizing, and analyzing financial data around the information needs of educational stakeholders. Specifically, it examines the challenges associated with consuming and managing fiscal data within this restricted environment. The discussion is framed around five fundamental steps used when studying how districts engage in financial planning, control, and decision-support. Using the financial statements of a school district, this segment of the textbook provides step-by-step illustrations of essential methods one must apply to assess the financial health of a school system operating within this complex environment. The chapter concludes with practical research tips from individuals seasoned in governmental accounting and auditing techniques.

References

  1. Allison, G. H., & Johnson, F. (2015). Financial accounting for local and state school systems: 2014 edition (NCES 2015–347). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).Google Scholar
  2. Baker, B., Taylor, L., & Vedlitz, A. (2008). Adequacy estimates and the implications of common standards for the cost of instruction. National Research Council, 9(2), 24–38.Google Scholar
  3. Berne, R., & Stiefel, L. (1984). The measurement of equity in School Finance: Conceptual, methodological and empirical dimensions. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Berry, C. R., & West, M. R. (2010). Growing pains: The school consolidation movement and student outcomes. Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, 26(1), 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bruck, E., & Miltenberger, L. (2013). A school district condition assessment system and its application to Pennsylvania school districts, University of Illinois Press, 39(2), 115–131.Google Scholar
  6. DeLuca. (2013). K-12 non-instructional service consolidation: Spending changes and scale economies. Journal of Education Finance, 39(2), 150–173.Google Scholar
  7. Dembowski, F. L. (1980). School district cash management programs. Journal of Education Finance, 6(1), 51–67.Google Scholar
  8. Duncombe, W. D., & Yinger, J. M. (2010). School district consolidation: The benefits and costs. School Administrator, 67(5), 10–17.Google Scholar
  9. Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board. (2005). Statement of federal financial accounting standards #4 (2005). Washington, DC: U.S. Printing Office.Google Scholar
  10. Government Accountability Office. (2009). GAO cost estimating and assessment guide: Best practices for developing and managing capital program costs. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).Google Scholar
  11. Gronberg, T. J., Jansen, D. W., & Taylor, L. L. (2011). The impact of facilities on the cost of education. National Tax Journal, 64(1), 193–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hartman, W. T. (2003). School district budgeting (2nd ed.). New York: R&L Education.Google Scholar
  13. Ingle, W. K., Petroff, R. A., & Johnson, P. A. (2011). Estimating resource costs of levy campaigns in five Ohio school districts. Journal of Education Finance, 37(1), 52–71.Google Scholar
  14. Levin, H. M., McEwan, P. J., Belfield, C., Bowden, A. B., & Shand, R. (2018). Economic evaluation in education: Cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost analysis (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.Google Scholar
  15. Mead, D. M. (2012). What you should know about your school district's finances: A guide to financial statements. Norwalk: Government Accounting Standards Board.Google Scholar
  16. Mestry, R., & Bisschoff, T. (2009). School financial management explained (3rd ed.). Cape Town: Pearson.Google Scholar
  17. Mort, P., Reusser, W. C., & Polly, J. W. (1960). Public school finance. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  18. National Forum on Education Statistics. (2007). Forum guide to core finance data elements. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).Google Scholar
  19. Neu, D., Peters, F., Taylor, A., Neu, B. D., Peters, F., & Taylor, A. (2002). Financial reforms in Alberta?: The impact on School Districts. Journal of Education Finance, 27(4), 1067–1083.Google Scholar
  20. Odden, A. R., & Picus, L. O. (2013). School finance: A policy perspective. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  21. Official Statement. (2017). Puyallup school district’s unlimited tax general obligation bond: 2017. Puyallup: Puyallup School District.Google Scholar
  22. Rivenbark, W. C. (2005). A historical overview of cost accounting in local government. State & Local Government Review, 37(3), 217–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rogers, R. G. (1987). Is Big Better? Fact or Fad Concerning School District Organization. ERS Spectrum, 5(4), 36–39.Google Scholar
  24. Simon, H. (1976). Administrative behavior. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  25. Sonstelie, J. (2008). Resource needs of California public schools: Results from a survey of teachers, principals, and superintendents. Education Finance and Policy, 3(1), 58–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Strang, D. (1987). The administrative transformation of American education: School district consolidation, 1938–1980. Administrative Science Quarterly, 32(3), 352–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Toutkoushian, R. K., & Michael, R. S. (2005). Demystifying school funding in Indiana. Education Policy Brief, 3(2), 1–17.Google Scholar
  28. Trussel, J. M., & Patrick, P. A. (2012). Predicting significant reductions in instructional expenditures by school districts. Journal of Education Finance, 37(3), 205–233.Google Scholar
  29. U.S. Census Bureau. (2012). Population of interest-school district governments and public school systems. Retrieved August 8, 2017, from https://www.census.gov/govs/go/school_govs.html
  30. Verstegen. (2013). Leaving equity behind? A quantitative analysis of fiscal equity in Nevada’s public education finance system. Journal of Education Finance, 39(2), 132–149.Google Scholar
  31. Washington State Auditor’s Office. (2016). Financial statements and federal single audit report: Puyallup school district No. 3: 2016-2012. Olympia: Washington State Auditor’s Office. Google Scholar
  32. Wong, K. K., Shen, F. X., & Anagnostopoulos, D. (2007). The education mayor: Improving America’s schools. Washington, DC: Georgetown Press.Google Scholar
  33. Zender, J. (2015). Outside pressure: How educational financing reforms Circumvented Washington State Legislature. National Social Science Association Conference Proceedings, 59(1), San Diego.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua R. Zender
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kenneth A. Smith
    • 2
  • John R. Kurpierz
    • 3
  1. 1.School of BusinessHumboldt State UniversityArcataUSA
  2. 2.College of BusinessCentral Washington UniversityEllensburgUSA
  3. 3.Schulich School of BusinessYork UniversityTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations