Term of Award

Fall 2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 1

Sonya Shepherd

Committee Member 2

Chris Garretson

Abstract

The 21st Century has brought about an increased need for creative strategies to improve student achievement. As school districts across the nation implement innovative methods for meeting the challenge of raising academic performance, each district is also faced with balancing the budget to fund academic needs while maintaining the daily operations associated with running a school district. More specifically, in some states each school district is required to spend 65 percent of the operational budget on direct classroom instruction and using the remaining 35 percent to meet all other needs of the school district. Across the nation this is known as the 65 percent rule, an idea created by business man Patrick Byrnes. In 2006, Georgia became one of the states taking legislative action to mandate the 65 percent rule for each of its 180 school districts. Senate Bill 390 (SB 390), legislation known as Classrooms First for Georgia Act, required school districts to follow the 65 percent rule starting with fiscal year 2008. There is little empirical data to support or discount the concept of the 65 percent rule. For this study five Superintendents and five Principals were interviewed to gain insight on the positive aspects and the problematic concerns of SB 390. The participants were selected from large and small school districts in Georgia’s First District Regional Service Area (FDRESA). Student achievement and demographic data from school districts in FDRESA were also collected in this study. Data analysis indicates that Principals perceive SB 390 as an overall benefit to the school district. Superintendents perceive SB 390 as having little to no benefits. Student achievement data collected from the Georgia Department of Education shows no consistent outcomes of increased student achievement as a result of increased funds spent on direct classroom instruction. Demographic data show no unique benefits or problems with SB 390 as a result of district size.

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