Designing Finance Structures to Satisfy Equity and Adequacy Goals

Main Article Content


In addition to setting high standards for student performance, educational policies must consider what resources are essential to provide an adequate educational program to meet all students' learning needs. Policy makers also want to ensure that educators make efficient use of available resources. In this exploration of school finance policy, we advance a conception of adequacy as the ideal state of vertical equity, examine the evolution of this concept through judicial reviews, and discuss methods for determining the level of funding required to achieve adequacy. We then discuss economic and political problems inherent in institutional inefficiencies that are likely to derail efforts to raise achievement in poorly performing schools even after granting them an adequate level of resources. The paper concludes with a description of how a state funding formula might provide a foundation for adequacy in all districts.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
King, R. A. ., Swanson, A. D. ., & Sweetland, S. R. . (2005). Designing Finance Structures to Satisfy Equity and Adequacy Goals. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 13, 15.
Author Biographies

Richard A. King, University of Northern Colorado

Richard A. King is a professor in the Division of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Northern Colorado. He was recently the Division Director, and during 2004-05 is a Fulbright Scholar at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan, Republic of China. He is co-author, along with Austin Swanson and Scott Sweetland, of School Finance: Achieving High Standards with Equity and Efficiency (2003; 3rd edition). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Austin D. Swanson, State University of New York at Buffalo

Austin D. Swanson is Professor Emeritus from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy which he chaired for many years. Austin has published widely on educational finance and policy. He authored several books, including Fundamental Concepts of Educational Leadership (2001; 2nd edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Scott R. Sweetland, The Ohio State University

Scott R. Sweetland is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership at The Ohio State University. His research in finance and business includes publications in the Journal of Education Finance, Education Leadership Review, The Clearing House, and The Journal of School Business Management.