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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

Roger L. Reimer

First Committee Member

William Topp

Second Committee Member

Robert D. Morrow

Third Committee Member

Carl D. Lang

Fourth Committee Member

John Bahnsen

Fifth Committee Member

Thomas Cy Coleman


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether it was possible to develop an effective consolidation plan which would result in greater equalization of financial resources, more equitable tax structures and an increase in the revenue available for school support among California school districts within the requirements established by the Serrano v. Priest case.

Procedure: The most recent data available were collected from the California State Department of Education and eleven county school superintendents' offices. The following data for every elementary, secondary and unified school district in the state were included: (1) modified assessed valuation of real property, (2) general purpose tax rate, (3) average daily attendance, (4) revenue available per average daily attendance as generated by the general purpose tax rate, and (5) geographical location and boundaries. A uniquely designed computer program was written to utilize these data in an attempt to consolidate all school districts in California. The integrity of each of the 1,046 existing school districts as an administrative unit was maintained in combining districts; i.e., school districts were combined only in terms of consolidated taxing areas. School districts were consolidated by combining rich districts with poor districts by boundary realignments to achieve financial equalization as measured by the revenue available per average daily attendance. Only contiguous districts, those districts which had common boundaries, could be linked to form consolidated districts.

Conclusions: 1. Within the constraints of this study, it is not possible to develop an effective consolidation plan for California school districts to achieve financial equalization which meets the requirements of Serrano. 2. The uneven distribution of school districts throughout the state in terms of wealth forms pockets of wealth which are not conducive to the consolidation of school districts to achieve financial equalization. 3. The use of a $75 variance which was utilized for purposes of comparison made no difference to the outcome of the study; it is not possible to develop a feasible consolidation plan utilizing the $75 variance.

Recommendations: 1. Combine this study with the proposal to remove commercial and industrial property from the local tax base. 2. Replicate this study with different constraints and with the latest data available. 3. Consider replicating this study in another state where the distribution of wealth among districts is different from that of California but where financial inequalities may also exist. 4. Investigate the possibility of·combining other finance proposals with the consolidation of school districts to achieve financial equalization.



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