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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Facilities, Policy, and Funding of Rural Schools: A Case Study of School Board Decision Making
by Valvo, Russell J., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2015, 396; 3730927
Abstract (Summary)

School facilities issues in rural America and the resources to remedy them are made more complex by rural population trends, building deterioration and inadequacies, financial constraints, and education policy. The challenge for rural districts is to generate the revenues required to build or renovate school facilities. The resulting long-term underfunding of school facilities has left a pattern of crumbling school buildings across rural communities. Rural school districts, particularly those with older structures, need to improve energy efficiency of buildings and upgrade building infrastructure to support new technology

This case study was conducted to ascertain and gain an understanding of the decision-making process of a rural school board as it related to policy and funding for construction, renovation, and maintenance of school facilities. A review of the literature, to understand why rural schools are often in deteriorating condition, revealed a limited scope of research addressing rural education. Kingdon’s (1984) Agenda-Setting Theory provided the conceptual framework for the analysis of the board of education’s complex decisions made, both collectively and individually. Applied was Kingdon’s The Three Streams Model to understand what factors influenced board members when making financial and policy decisions for school facilities.

This single case study utilized field research methods to collect interview data and documents for archival analysis. Interviews were conducted with the school board members who made the decisions for the capital building project investigated in this study.

A key finding in this study was how changes in district leadership and the shifting mood of the school board precipitated the initiation of a policy and reinforced the chances for survival. This finding was particularly true in respect of financial feasibility, which did, in fact, result in enabling the policy to become a building project. This case study serves as a foundation for continued analysis. To connect the larger themes of rural school facility issues with decision making, policy development, and the effects of changing social-economic dynamics shaping the rural school agenda locally, statewide, and nationally.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: DeSander, Marguerita
Commitee: Clayton, Jennifer K., Emerson, Joseph T., Lemasters, Linda K., Logan, Gregory M.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Administration and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Education Policy, School administration, Public policy
Keywords: Decision making, Education, Facilities, Policy, Rural schools, School boards
Publication Number: 3730927
ISBN: 978-1-339-17267-5
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