Robert Berne

Professor of Public Policy and Financial Management, Executive Vice President for Health

Bobst, 70 Wash Sq S, 1223
By appointment only
Robert Berne

Robert Berne, Executive Vice President for Health and Professor of Public Policy and Financial Management, specializes in public sector financial management and is a nationally recognized expert in educational policy research.

His research focuses on financial issues, including the assessment of equity in school finance and the measurement of financial condition. He is the co-editor of Outcome Equity in Education (Corwin Press, Inc., 1994) and coauthor of The Measurement of Equity in School Finance (Johns Hopkins University Press,1984). He was one of the founders of the Institute for Education and Social Policy at NYU, formed to address issues that affect public education in urban areas. Vice President Berne served as dean of the Wagner School from 1994 to 1997 and associate dean from 1988 to 1994.

Vice President Berne is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Soros Foundation supported Local Government Initiative that supports local government and governance in Central and Eastern Europe. Vice President Berne has published his research in numerous journals including the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Policy Analysis, Policy Sciences, Public Administration Review, Journal of Education Finance, and Public Budgeting & Finance. He received his Ph.D. in business and public administration from Cornell University.



Although analyses of state school finance systems rarely focus on the distribution of funds to students of different races, the advent of racial discrimination as an issue in school finance court cases may change that situation. In this article, we describe the background, analyses, and results of plaintiffs' testimony regarding racial discrimination in Campaign for Fiscal Equity Inc. v. State of New York. Plaintiffs employed multiple regression and public finance literature to show that New York State's school finance system had a disparate racial impact on New York City students. We review the legal basis for disparate racial impact claims, with particular emphasis on the role of quantitative statistical work, and then describe the model we developed and estimated for the court case. Finally, we discuss the defendants' rebuttal, the Court's decision, and conclude with observations about the role of analysis in judicial decision making in school finance.



Combines budget and performance information to study the effects of high school size. Suggests that since small high schools are more effective for minority and poor students, and the budget per student is found to be similar for small and large schools, policymakers might support the creation of more small high schools.


Berne, R., Stiefel, L., Ladd, H.F., Chalk, R. & Hansen, J.S.. Concepts of Equity: 1970 to Present. Equity and Adequacy Issues in Education Finance: Background Papers, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. .
Berne, R. & Stiefel, L.. School Site Based Financing in Large U.S. Cities. in Margaret Goertz and Allan Odden, eds., School-Based Financing, Thousand Oaks, CA: Corw.
Berne, R., Fruchter, N. & Parrish, T.. Financing Special Education: Proposed Reforms in New York City. in Thomas Parrish, Jay Chambers, and Cassie Guarino, eds., Funding Special Education, Thousand Oaks, CA: Corw.


Berne, R., Moser, M. & Stiefel, L.. Equity and Efficiency in K-12 Education: Thirty Years of History. in Stuart Nagel, ed., Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 9. Stanford, Conn.: JAI Press.

Reviews the school-level resource-allocation literature and presents findings of a study of school-district expenditures in Chicago, Forth Worth, New York, and Rochester. Horizontal equity results show that in Chicago, New York, and Fort Worth, most coefficients of variation are below 0.15. Rochester's system is slightly less equitable. For general funds, all cities show mixed vertical-equity results.


School reform leaders from Chicago (Illinois), Denver (Colorado), New York (New York), Seattle (Washington), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), and Los Angeles (California) created the Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform to work to improve urban education so that all urban youth are well-prepared for postsecondary education, work, and citizenship. Papers in this volume provide insights into an approach advocated by the Cross City Campaign, the small schools movement.


Berne, R. & Stiefel, L.. Student-Level School Resource Measures. in William J. Fowler, editor, Selected Papers in School Finance. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, National Center on Education Statistics, NCES 97-536.

Discusses implications for school finance data collection and analysis of shifting to schools as key management and policy units. Discusses questions that school-level data can answer concerning resource utilization efficiency, effectiveness, intent, and equity. Outlines conceptual issues (school definition and identification) and database realities. Illustrates issues problems, and principles, using examples from Rochester, New York.


Berne, R.. Measuring and Reporting Financial Condition. in James Perry & Associates, Handbook of Public Administration, Second Edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Berne, R., Ascher, C. & Fruchter, N.. Hard Lessons: Public Schools and Privatization. New York, NY: Twentieth Century Fund. .
Berne, R.. Cost-Effectiveness in Education, A Synopsis. Albany, N.Y.: New York State Board of Regents.


Berne, R. & Fruchter, N.. A Modest Proposal for Improving New York State's Educational Outcomes. in Temporary New York State Commission on Constitutional Revision, Effective Government Now for the New Century. Albany, N.Y.: Temporary New York State Commission on Constitutional Revision.
Berne, R., Cipollina, N., Netzer, D. & Stiefel, L.. Estimating the Fiscal Impact of Secession: The Case of Staten Island and New York City. Public Budgeting and Financial Management, Vol. 7, No. 2, Summer 1995, pp 147-169.
Berne, R. & Netzer, D.. Discrepancies Between Ideal Characteristics of a Property Tax System and Current Practice in New York. in David Monk, editor, Final Report. Study on the Generation of Revenues for Education. Albany, N.Y.: New York State Board of Regents, February 3. Published in Journal of Education Finance, Vol. 21, No. 1, Summer 1995, pp 38-56.