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Assessing the Costs of Adequacy in California Public Schools: A Cost Function Approach


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  • Jennifer Imazeki

    (Department of Economics, San Diego State University)


In this study, a cost function is used to estimate the costs for California districts to meet the achievement goals set out for them by the state. I calculate estimates of base costs (i.e., per pupil costs in a district with relatively low levels of student need) and marginal costs (i.e., the additional costs associated with specific student characteristics) for poverty, English learners, and special education and then compare these estimates with the findings from cost studies in other states, which have used a variety of methods, and with other cost studies in California. Because of institutional constraints in California, the cost function estimate of total costs to achieve adequacy (which relies critically on the estimated relationship between spending and outcomes) may be quite imprecise. Nevertheless, the cost function estimates of base and marginal costs are not inconsistent with other studies, though they fall on the low end of the spectrum. © 2008 American Education Finance Association

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Education Finance and Policy.

Volume (Year): 3 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 90-108

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:3:y:2008:i:1:p:90-108

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Keywords: education costs; California;

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Cited by:
  1. William Duncombe & John Yinger, 2011. "Making do: state constraints and local responses in California’s education finance system," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 337-368, June.


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