Jeremy Larson

Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Pauline Stonehouse


"Efforts to improve our school system must start with equity" (Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission, 2012). This study is a statistical analysis of the 2003-2012 Minnesota K-12 pubic school general education (foundation) formula in regard to fiscal equality and wealth neutrality. The analysis utilizes a longitudinal approach to compare the findings of previous equity studies to current relatable data as it pertains to the State of Minnesota. A number of modifications have been imposed on the original Minnesota funding formula over the past decade. This study tests the equity level of a selected number of revenue sources and reviews previous studies to determine how equity has or has not been improved as a result of the modifications.

Fiscal neutrality is described as the wealth of the school district and should be a function of the wealth of the state as a whole, not of the wealth of the local school district. This study analyzed the fiscal neutrality of 333 public school districts in Minnesota in terms of variance, permissible variance, coefficient of variation, and Gini Coefficient. The analysis was based upon three research questions:

1. Based on an analysis of the 2003 to 2012 general education formula, what were the fiscal equality and wealth neutrality characteristics of Minnesota's school districts?

2. Based on an examination of like data elements from the four major Minnesota fiscal equality and wealth neutrality studies, what trends can be observed?

3. Based on the recommendations of previous studies, what legislative impact did they have?

The findings of the research show that overall the disbursements of revenue through the Minnesota funding formula do meet the standards of wealth neutrality. However, there are categories of the formula that remain inequitable and the reliance of local taxpayers on the referendum revenue source has increased over the years studied.