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Date of Award

1996

Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dennis C. Brennan

First Committee Member

Estelle Lau

Second Committee Member

Stephen E. Trotter

Third Committee Member

Frederick A. Wentworth

Fourth Committee Member

Mari G. Irvin

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine which factors associated with particular school configurations are considered when "reconfiguring" suburban and rural school districts. Superintendents, site administrators, and school board presidents from suburban and rural California school districts of no less than 800 and no more than 6,000 ADA served as the population for this study. A survey questionnaire was developed and sent to superintendents, site administrators and school board presidents in school districts that had considered reconfiguration in the last ten years. Within the questionnaire, perceptions towards factors related to grade configuration were explored. Open-ended questions and in-depth interviews were also conducted by the researcher. The typical survey respondent was between 45 and 49 years of age, Caucasian (over 90%) and had an average education at the master's degree level. The typical school district of the respondents had an enrollment between 2,000 and 2,999. Respondents indicated that their districts had been reconfigured within the last three years. The five most cited factors were: To better meet the needs of children, Desire to improve academics, Overcrowded conditions, Building a new school, and Evaluation of the education program. Responses to the open-ended questions revealed that there is not consistent support for any particular grade level organization. Responses to the open-ended questions also revealed that overcrowding and a lack of adequate facilities significantly hastened district efforts in reconfiguration. The recommendations from this research to district policy makers are: (1) Be thorough in the study of district reconfiguration, survey all groups but remain focused on the issues brought forth in this study, (2) Decision makers should consider the research but not allow the dialog regarding district reconfiguration to become muddled by its conflicting findings and recommendations, (3) Prioritize what you wish to accomplish when reconfiguring and stay focused on those issues, and (4) Decisions should be based on local concerns and needs.

Pages

377

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