School Performance and Resource Use: The Role of Districts in New York City

Schwartz, A.E., Stiefel, L. & Iatarola, P.
in Fiscal Issues in Urban Schools, Research in Education Fiscal Policy and Practice: Volume One, Christopher Roellke and Jennifer King Rice, editors. Information Age Publishing.

State accountability systems as well as the system written into the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act rely on measures of performance to judge how well schools are educating their students. While the role of districts in financing schools is well known, relatively little attention has been paid to any other function the district might have in determining school performance. Advocates for school-based budgeting and school-based financing argue that educational policymaking and primary control cover budgeting is best left to schools, with more limited responsibilities for districts in areas such as support services for joint purchasing or professional development. At the same time, the movements toward greater state financing and more stringent state accountability systems are strong forces shifting revenue raising and authority aver curriculum from the district to the state level. Do districts continue to matter at all in how schools perform? Why and in what ways?

Wagner Faculty