Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Karen Shafer


Budgeting and allocation decisions made by school districts have a direct impact on education in local communities. Little, however, is known about budgetary allocation and decision-making practices involving federal Impact Aid received by military-connected districts as no national guidelines exist to guide the allocation of this funding source. Using Sielke's garbage can decision model as the foundation, the purpose of this multiple case study of 5 school districts located throughout the United States was to explore how school districts use Impact Aid to achieve educational adequateness for military-connected children. Research questions focused on how school districts make budgetary decisions in regard to Impact Aid and military-connected students. Data were collected from 5 semistructured interviews with school administrators, budget analysts, as well as over 350 publicly available policy documents. All data were inductively coded and categorized to apply frequency of references and through open and descriptive coding emerged 4 thematic elements. The key findings of this study showed that sequestration and information management had the largest impact on how Impact Aid funding was spent by school districts. The results of this study provide evidence in support of Sielke's garbage can decision theory. The implications for social change stemming from this study include recommendations to policy makers regarding improving allocation methods, which may in turn improve the effectiveness of education funding leading to adequate and equal education support for all public school students.