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School of FInance
Syllabus - School of FInance
Lessons - School of FInance
School of Finance Course
Course in Business Comunications
School of Finance Course

The following course in School of Finance is provided in its entirety by Atlantic International University's "Open Access Initiative" which strives to make knowledge and education readily available to those seeking advancement regardless of their socio-economic situation, location or other previously limiting factors. The University's Open Courses are free and do not require any purchase or registration, they are open to the public.


Objectives for School of Finance:

  • To help students understand equity and adequacy issues relating to education finance and how to design school finance policies to improve equity and adequacy.
  • To enable students to examine alternate state school finance structures, costs, and the impact these factors have on local school districts and educational reform.
  • To help students to understand current educational resource use patterns and how to reallocate resources to enhance resource use efficiency and effectiveness to produce higher levels of student achievement.

 

Lesson 1: Introduction

Video Conference: Introduction

Lesson 2: Legal Issues in School Finance

The term “public school systems,” as used for this report, includes two types of government entities with responsibility for providing education services: (1) school districts that are administratively and fiscally independent of any other government and are counted as separate governments; and (2) public school systems that lack sufficient autonomy to be counted as separate governments and are classified as a dependent agency of some other government – a county, municipal, township, or state government.
Most public school systems included in this report operate to provide regular, special, and/or vocational programs for children in prekindergarten through 12th grade. Some systems, known as “nonoperating” districts, only exist to collect tax revenue, which they then transfer to other school systems that actually provide the education services. This report also includes “education service agencies.” These agencies typically provide regional special education services, vocational education programs, or financial services for member districts. They are classified as joint educational service agencies of the participating districts and are not counted as separate governments.

Video Conference: Legal Issues in School Finance

Lesson 3: A Framework for Assessing Equity and Adequacy in School Finance

Equality has been a mantra of American public education since the common school was founded in the 19th century. The notion that all citizens are entitled to a free public education in order to gain sufficient knowledge to govern themselves and to contribute to a productive economy is a foundation principle of our democracy. Over the years, however, Americans have deliberated over what level of education is sufficient and who is responsible for providing the resources necessary to deliver it.
Policymakers, educators, parents, and other taxpayers have long engaged in debates about school funding systems. At times these disputes have found their way to court. Since the 1970s, school finance lawsuits have been filed in nearly every state, including each of the seven states in the Central Region. Historically, these lawsuits have focused on equity issues; however, the trend in school finance litigation has shifted recently from equalizing resources across districts to providing adequate resources to meet standards and reach student achievement goals.

Video Conference: A Framework for Assessing Equity and Adequacy in School Finance

Lesson 4: Adequate Staffing and Resources for America’s Schools

The current school reform debate focuses on a number of assumptions that may be conceptually inadequate to deal with the task of improving Indian education. These assumptions about educational practices based upon the nature of schools, the student population, and professional staffing hinder the Native student.
With a strong belief that all students can learn, the most basic underlying assumption of school reform is the view that schools as organizations can, in fact, be transformed and improved and that this improvement would result in increased levels of student achievement for all learners. This assumption is based on a certain level of stability and continuity with regard to student enrollment and professional staffing during the school year and succeeding school years. It would also require the existence and availability of a corpus of appropriate information and knowledge to guide professional development as well as curriculum development activities.

Video Conference: Adequate Staffing and Resources for America’s Schools

Lesson 5: Financing Educational Facilities

The Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (the PPEA) grants responsible public entities the authority to create public-private partnerships for the development of a wide range of projects for public use if the public entities determine there is a need for the project and that private involvement may provide the project to the public in a timely or cost-effective fashion. The PPEA defines “responsible public entity” to include any public entity that, “…has the power to develop or operate the applicable qualifying project”. Individually negotiated interim or comprehensive agreements between a private entity and a responsible public entity will define the respective rights and obligations of the responsible public entity and the private entity.
In order for a project to come under the PPEA, it must meet the definition of a “qualifying project”. The PPEA contains a broad definition of qualifying project that includes public buildings and facilities of all types, for example:
(i) An education facility, including but not limited to a school building (including any stadium or other facility primarily used for school events), any functionally related and subordinate facility and land to a school building and any depreciable property provided for use in a school facility that is operated as part of the public school system or as an institution of higher education;
(ii) A building or facility that meets a public purpose and is developed or operated by or for any public entity;
(iii) Improvements, together with equipment, necessary to enhance public safety and security of buildings to be principally used by a public entity;
(iv) Utility and telecommunications and other communications infrastructure;
(v) A recreational facility;
(vi) Technology infrastructure, including but not limited to telecommunications, automated data processing, word processing and management information systems, and related information, equipment, goods and services; or
(vii) Any improvements necessary or desirable to any unimproved locally- or state-owned real estate.

Video Conference: Financing Educational Facilities

Lesson 6: Allocation and Use of the Education Dollar

By drawing an explicit distinction between “base” and “share” effects, this study examines the potential for inconsistent resource allocation decisions to be made at different administrative levels of school districts and schools. The work builds on the Consortium for Policy Research in Education's “What Dollars Buy” project and employs multivariate models to examine the influences of school district spending, wealth, poverty, and size on internal decisions about how to divide staffing resources across different areas of the curriculum. Results indicate that there is more internal variation across districts in how teacher resources are distributed than is commonly supposed. The study also reveals evidence of inconsistency across levels of decision making about the supply of resources into particular areas of the curriculum. Finally, there is evidence of stronger than expected relationships between spending levels and allocations of resources into administrative uses.

Video Conference: Allocation and Use of the Education Dollar

Lesson 7: Using Educational Resources More Effectively

By drawing an explicit distinction between “base” and “share” effects, this study examines the potential for inconsistent resource allocation decisions to be made at different administrative levels of school districts and schools. The work builds on the Consortium for Policy Research in Education's “What Dollars Buy” project and employs multivariate models to examine the influences of school district spending, wealth, poverty, and size on internal decisions about how to divide staffing resources across different areas of the curriculum. Results indicate that there is more internal variation across districts in how teacher resources are distributed than is commonly supposed. The study also reveals evidence of inconsistency across levels of decision making about the supply of resources into particular areas of the curriculum. Finally, there is evidence of stronger than expected relationships between spending levels and allocations of resources into administrative uses.

Video Conference: Using Educational Resources More Effectively

Lesson 8: School District Budgeting

School district finance is a complicated subject, because money comes from a variety of sources and usually can only be spent for designated purposes. For example, if a school district’s voters approve a levy to remodel classrooms, the school board cannot decide to use that money to pay for textbooks or teacher salaries.
The school board approves where the superintendent and staff will spend the district’s money. How a school board allocates funds tells you what the board values most. Understanding school district spending can give you insight into what happens in your school district, which will help you make well-informed suggestions to your school board representatives.

Video Conference: School District Budgeting

Lesson 9: School Finance Structures: Formula Options

Video Conference: School Finance Structures: Formula Options

Lesson 10: The Public Finance Context, Improving State School Finance Systems, and Redesigning Teacher Salary Structures

The quest to change the way teachers are paid is not something new to this first decade of the 21st century. During the last half of the 20th century teacher pay structure changes were tried at least once a decade. And nearly all of the 1980s Nation at Risk reform recommendations included proposals for changing teacher pay structures to some sort of merit- or performance- basis (e.g., National Commission on Equity and Excellence in Education, 1984). But most failed and only a handful survived more than a few years (Murnane & Cohen, 1986; Odden & Kelley, 2002). So today, the single salary schedule that pays teachers on the basis of their years of experience and numbers of education credits and degrees is the schedule used by the vast bulk of states and districts across the country.

Video Conference: The Public Finance Context, Improving State School Finance Systems,

Final Exam School of Finance Course

Final Exam School of Finance Course

 

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