The relationship between educational expenditures and student achievement is a debate that has taken place over the course of nearly four decades. Accordingly, some researchers have labeled this question the "holy grail" of school finance (Stiefel, Schwartz, Rubenstein, & Zable, 2005). Most scholars trace this debate to the publication of Equality of Educational Opportunity, or the Coleman Report in 1966. Succinctly stated, the Coleman Report found that schools do not significantly explain the variation in student achievement. Even the terms to define efficiency, sufficiency, adequacy, and achievement are cause for debate. Given the potential for stakeholders' different interpretations of these terms in school finance litigation and policymaking, the purpose of this paper is twofold: 1) to conceptually investigate different interpretations of efficiency as well as the potential unintended, and unjust, consequences that arise from using different notions of efficiency as a goal of public education; and 2) to explore the tensions between the broader goals of efficiency, equity, and adequacy in school finance litigation and policymaking. This study also sought to answer the following two research questions: 1) What combination and quantity of resources can be used to achieve efficient student performance outcomes after controlling for student demographic factors and 2) do differences exist in resource intensity for low and high poverty high schools? This paper focuses on resource allocation patterns in schools that are deemed to be efficient, using Data Envelopment Analysis, in an attempt to inform changes to resource allocation patterns in schools.


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pp. 381-396
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