Theses Doctoral

Resource Allocation and Competition: A Case Study of Charter and Traditional Public School Spending in the New Orleans Educational Marketplace

Daschbach, Joseph

School reforms in New Orleans have brought sweeping changes to the way public schools are governed and managed, and to the way in which students are assigned to public schools. Non-profit charter school boards now govern over 90% of public schools, and families are able to choose the public school in which they enroll. Competition within the system of schools is expected to compel schools to differentiate themselves from each other in order to attract and retain students. School-level budgetary data provide one source of information with which to examine the priorities schools establish as they seek to differentiate themselves. There is a significant body of research comparing the resource allocation patterns in traditional public schools to those in charter schools. Often, however, these comparisons are drawn between schools that do not operate in a single educational marketplace. Rather, they compare schools within different geographic areas that may not be in direct competition with each other. Many of the studies also fail to distinguish between non-network charter schools and those run by centralized charter school networks. This quantitative case study uses the New Orleans public school marketplace as a critical case for examining how governance and management structures impact school spending. Specifically, the study aims to identify, describe, and understand whether and how school-level resource allocation patterns differ across schools of different governance and management structures, and how those patterns might be influenced by market competition.
This research uses linear regression models to estimate differences in resource allocation between traditional public and charter schools in the educational marketplace, after controlling for student and school-level characteristics. School expenditures are examined over a variety of expense categories and human resource indicators. Data from New Orleans suggest that privatization and decentralization have a significant impact on how resources are allocated at the school level. Importantly, however, no significant spending differences emerge when data are aggregated to the level of the local education agency. In other words, spending in the traditional public school district, charter management organizations, and single site charter schools appear similar, irrespective of governance and management structure of those organizations.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Organization and Leadership
Thesis Advisors
Huerta, Luis A.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 14, 2018