Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: What Can $46 Million Buy? An Evidence-Based Evaluation of Federal Funding

Friday, November 13, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Amy Rachel Williams, Fort Worth Independent School District
Federal funding in the formof title grants has become an important source of revenue for school districts. Title grants are focused on specific populations such as economically disadvantaged students or teachers. In the state of Texas, federal funding accounted for 11.12% of revenue during the 2012-2013 school year (Texas Education Agency (TEA), 2015a). For many school districts, Title I, Part A is one of their largest sources of federal funding. The Title I, Part A grant provides funding that is directed at students from low-income families to aid them in meeting academic requirements. Previously, the evaluation of the Title I, Part A grant was primarily limited to basic compliance data requirements.

Whilemillions of dollars were provided to a large, urban school district in Texas for student achievement through the Title I, Part A grant, the required compliance data for prior evaluations was focused on a descriptive analysis of the students served, rather than changes in their academic achievement. This year, an innovative new evidence-based cost-effectiveness evaluation will be conducted for the Title I, Part A grant. This evaluation paper will illustrate the quarterly differences in school-level spending practices throughout the urban school district and if annual categorical expenditures can be associated with student achievement for the 2014-2015 school year.

Although politicians have implemented laws to allocate funding to improve student academic performance, academic researchers have debated if there is a relationship between expenditures and student achievement.While some research has shown an association between spending in schools and achievement (Archibald, 2006; Author, 2010), others have concluded that there is no correlation or only a weak association between financial inputs and student outcomes (Coulson, 2014; Grub, 2009).

This evaluation paper will provide a fiscal transparency to one of the largest federal grants in the urban school district. Not only will it offer detailed information for school leadership on how federal money is being expended throughout the district, it can aid them in where there are associations, or if there are no associations between categorical school expenditures and student outcomes. Federal government officials can also utilize this information to aid in their decision-making process for future education policies that allocate funding for specific student populations to school districts across the nation.

Archibald, S. (2006). Narrowing in on educational resources that do affect student achievement. Peabody Journal of Education, 81(4), 23-42.
Coulson, A. (2014). State education trends academic performance and spending over the past 30 years. CATO Institute 746, 1-60.
Grubb,W. N. (2009). Themoneymyth: School resources, outcomes, and equity. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.
Texas Education Agency (2015a). 2012-2013 Actual Financial Data. Totals for State Total (All Districts).