Can more really be done with less?
Thompson, Matthew Edward
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This study sought to better understand the impact of the Great Recession of 2008 on school district performance in Georgia. Specifically, the relationship between school district funding, which decreased broadly for most districts in Georgia after 2008, and the ability to efficiently produce desired outcomes was scrutinized. In comparing the year just prior to the recession, 2008, with the same measures from 2013, it was found that districts in Georgia were significantly less efficient at producing student outcomes after the recession than just before it. Next, the nature of the relationship between of loss of funding and reduction in efficiency or effectiveness was directly examined. Two discriminant functions were developed, one for funding loss related variables and another related to characteristics of school districts at least partially under the control of district leadership. Efficiency and effectiveness outcomes were not significantly related to pure measures of funding reduction, but the discriminant function based on alterable variables was highly successful at classifying districts on their relative efficiency or effectiveness. These findings suggests some districts were better able to weather recession driven loss of funding and still maintain their ability to produce outcomes in their students. Implications and broader findings were discussed.