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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Dennis Brennan

First Committee Member

Beatrice Lingenfelter

Second Committee Member

Michael Elium

Third Committee Member

Milton Woolsey


This bounded collective case study is an exploration of five school districts that have come under California state receivership and have received comprehensive assessments from the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team. It is detailed from the point of receivership through the initial comprehensive assessment report. Each case is situated within the timeframe in which each district had their budgets negatively certified, their request for a state loan granted, their receivership by the state declared and the initial steps toward recovery identified. The five California school districts chosen for this study are a sample of the population of school districts that have requested loans from the state of California since 1984. Of this population of thirty-two, seven have come under state receivership. Of these seven, five school districts have had comprehensive assessments mandated by the state of California and conducted by the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team. These five school districts selected as the sample for this study are: Compton Unified School District, West Contra Costa Unified School District, West Fresno Elementary School District, Oakland Unified School District and Vallejo City Unified School District. This study utilized the results from three data sets: district profiles which included demographic and financial data; the comprehensive assessment of the five selected school districts conducted by the FCMAT in the financial management area; and practitioner interviews at the district, county and state levels. The findings provide a roadmap for school districts in determining its risk of insolvency. The common demographic, financial conditions and fiscal practices are identified and how these conditions and practices lead to fiscal insolvency is presented. These conditions and practices have been organized into a high risk model that provides a hierarchy of predictors divided into primary, secondary, and independent risk areas that describe how these conditions and practices can be utilized as indicators of impending fiscal crisis. The systemic impact on fiscal solvency in the areas of; governance, human resources, facilities, and most importantly student achievement needs to receive further research.





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