Dr. Mike Lucas

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Title An Analysis of Nebraska School Districts’ Profile of General Fund Receipts and Disbursements as Related to Selected Characteristics
Author Lucas, Michael J.
School The University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Degree EdD
Date 2007
Advisor Uerling, Donald F.
Pages 113
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Abstract The purpose of this study was to explore possible relationships between selected school district characteristics and the percentage profiles of 2005-06 general fund receipts and disbursements for a sample of Nebraska school districts.

An important issue for policy-makers is whether or not school districts of different enrollment sizes tend to receive and spend their general fund resources in similar or different ways.  An analysis of such similarities and differences should provide some insight into the feasibility of merging a number of smaller school districts into fewer but larger units.

The study focused on a stratified random sample of 44 Nebraska school districts with a K-12 enrollment of fewer than 2,000 students.  Most school district reorganizations involve school systems with student numbers in the lower end of this enrollment range.  Selected school district characteristics included average daily membership, cost per pupil, pupil-teacher ratio, sparsity, and number of non-high school attendance centers.

This study was based on a similar study conducted by Uerling (1994) that provided summary data in the form of percentage profiles of general fund receipts and disbursements for Nebraska school districts for the fiscal years 1977-78 through 1991-92.

Data were compiled by downloading Annual Financial Report information from the Nebraska Department of Education website, then analyzing that data using an Excel spreadsheet.  Five main categories of receipts included local, county and ESU, state, non-revenue, and federal.  Two significant sub-categories also included were "property taxes" and "state aid."  Seven categories of disbursements included instruction, support services, governance and administration, operation and maintenance, transportation, transfers, and depreciation.

The results showed that for Nebraska school districts with different characteristics there were major differences in the percentage profiles of general fund receipts, but few differences in the percentage profiles of general fund disbursements.  Also, the percentage profiles of general fund receipts and disbursements for 2005-06 were quite similar to the percentage profiles for school districts in the late 1970s and early 1990s.
 
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