Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

William Owings

Committee Member

Steve Myran

Committee Member

Petros Katsioloudis


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between intra-district per-pupil expenditures in five middle schools in within the same school division using an equity audit. Broadly, the distribution of resources was examined. Specifically, how intra-district per-pupil expenditures influenced horizontal and vertical equity measures was explored. The questions central to this study were: (a) Does variation exist among schools? (b) What is the per-pupil expenditure by school? (c) When examining per-pupil expenditures, what differences exist? (d) To what extent does the district funding system meet the standards for horizontal and vertical equity? The history of educational funding was discussed. Then, equity in education was examined. Finally, equity audits were completed and the data were analyzed.

Data were gathered from Virginia Department of Education School Quality Profiles and other publicly available sources for each of the middle schools using an equity audit format previously used by Owings and Kaplan (2010). Collected data were analyzed within and among five middle schools in the same school district. Additionally, vertical and horizontal equity was examined among the schools.

The central question answers were analyzed to determine if consistent patterns could be identified. Using the data patterns uncovered, recommendations for an equitable distribution of resources were provided. Furthermore, recommendations for further research were made.


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