Expenditures and Outcomes in Maryland Public Schools: An Analysis of Counties
Crozier, Michael Paul
Expenditure data for Maryland Public Schools for the years 2013 through 2016 were regressed to determine significant relationships between local spending on certain facets of education and their effect on a student outcomes, operationalized as the four year graduation rate for high school students across Maryland’s 24 counties. Statistically significant relationships were found for several covariates after multivariate OLS regressions were run, most notably wealth per pupil and support staff per pupil expenditures. A second regression was run with a dichotomous variable for high and low-income counties; minimal coefficient changes from the initial regression were found, and the same wealth and support covariates remained significant. Policy implications for adjusting Maryland’s public financing scheme to reallocate funds to the most needy and vulnerable students to truly lessen the income achievement gap between high an low-income counties are discussed. Based on the analysis, Maryland should consider placing greater weight on income over property value in their wealth equalizing public school finance system to ensure equitable funding for low and high-income counties based on need. The findings of this analysis support prior literature stating that inequitable school funding based on wealth is common, but counter previous findings of teacher effects being the most common and significant variable for student outcomes. Further research at the more granular school level, as opposed to county level, is recommended.
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