An analysis of the equity of the census enumeration method of distributing state school funds in Texas



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This investigation was concerned with the per capita apportionment plan of distributing the State Available School Fund in Texas and with the probable effects of this plan on school conditions and financial practices. Average dally attendance was considered the basis of educational load and the ratio between average dally attendance and census enumeration was called the "efficiency ratio." The purposes of this investigation were (a) to determine the variations in efficiency ratios among the schools of the state; (b) to compare taxing resources among school districts and the effect of efficiency ratios on tax rates; (c) to determine variations in teacher-pupil loads among the various school districts and according to levels of Instruction; (d) to find if there was any statistical relationship between efficiency ratios and percentage high school average daily attendance was of total attendance; (e) to find if there was any statistical relationship between efficiency ratios and teacher-pupil loads; (f) to determine to what extent low efficiency ratios were due to failure of scholastics to enroll in school; and (g) to determine the effects of materially increased per capita apportionments on equitable distribution of funds. Data on attendance, enrollments, census enumeration, the number of teachers employed, tax valuations, and tax rates were obtained for each independent school district and for common school districts by counties from Superintendents' Annual Reports for 1945-46. All white public elementary and secondary schools were included. For accuracy of comparison, the independent districts were divided into seven groups according to size and most data treated by these groups. The evidence indicates that the method of distributing a major portion of the state school funds on the basis of school census is responsible for gross inequities in school financing in Texas because: 1. Significant variations among the school districts in percentage of enumerated scholastics in attendance exist. 2. That method of distribution makes no provisions for differences in costs of high school instruction and elementary instruction. That considerable differences do exist is shown by differences in teacher-pupil load of the two levels. 3. It tends to provide an escape from taxation where attendance is poor, since no account is taken of attendance nor of local resources. 4. It is not conducive to improvements in school attendance. 5. Increased state support by this method of distribution tends to increase inequities.