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Running head: ADA VERSUS ADM

ADA Versus ADM

Concepción Ortega

Grand Canyon University


May 5, 2010
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ADA Versus ADM

In this essay, I am assuming that the schools in the state are 100% funded through state tax

dollars. The schools in the state are not permitted to levy local taxes. I have been assigned the

job of overseeing distribution of state dollars to all of the schools in the state. The best way to

allocate funds to the schools is by considering ADA (Average Daily Attendance) over ADM

(Average Daily Membership). In the paper, I will be supporting why ADA is the best way to

distribute the funding.

Reasoning for Using ADA

Average Daily Attendance (ADA), according to the Ed Data, Education Issues and

Background - School District Income (2004), “are the total days of student attendance divided

by the total days of instruction” (as cited by Red City Education Foundation, p. 3). Let us say

that there are 180 days of instruction and the student was absent 13 days in the school year. The

student was present for 167 days divided by 180 school days = 0.927. Now when the

administrators see the numbers plummet then they will have to rethink how they can get the

numbers up. Maybe now they will less ignore the absence of a student and get on the phone with

the parent to find out about the whereabouts of the student.

Advantages of Using ADA

Schools are held more accountable for the students’ attendance when using ADA. When

ADA is in place, the schools need to make sure the student is attending school and is in class for

more than half a day. This pressure will make sure that the principals use their power and rules

to emphasize the importance of attendance to the parents, students and the community. In a way

the schools may even being an incentive program of some sort to motive the students on perfect
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attendance a day, a week, a month, or even quarterly. The students love rewards like parties,

trinkets, or medals.

Equalize the funds to maximize the cost-quality relationship

The best way to equalize the funds to maximize the cost-quality relationship is to look at

the schools’ enrollment data for the past two or three years. This will show how much money

was spent per student. The data will also show what programs were in place that make the cost

per student go up or down. By balancing, the budget is to look for programs that can still get the

same results but without all the unnecessary cost. The schools will have to undertake this step to

better utilize the schools funds. “The difficulty of solving the cost-quality problem in education

is increased by the fact that the term high quality has not been defined in ways that are

measurable and acceptable to all concerned” (Brimley and Garfield, 2008, p. 23).

Prepare for Change

Data analysis of the schools demographics and economic factors for the past three years

is a start. You need to look into the data to see where the increase or the decrease of students is

and by how much. You would also have to look at the programs that are already in place and the

ones that the school had before during the time the data was retrieved. Looking at all the data,

we can analyze it and determine the cost per student then and how it has changed over the years

and by how much. There have been a great number of people moving to other cities in search of

work. Moreover, when they arrive there they find that the schools are overcrowded and that

there are less qualified teachers (Brimley and Garfield, 2008). Another change and which is

inevitable is inflation.

Uncontrolled inflation causes the dollar cost of education to rise rapidly. Inflation
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not only reduces the real income of the individuals but it also increases their tax

obligations under a progressive income tax system. Inflation causes people to cut

back on the purchase of goods and services in an attempt to maintain their

economic position. The result is serious for schools. (Brimley and Garfield, 2008,

p. 40)

Although it may be hard to predict inflation, it is an important thing to consider.

The data analysis “allows a school district to adjust staffing and program through a

planned process rather than a knee-jerk process” (according to Worthington School District, p.

3). The loss cannot be avoided. It is spread out with students in different grade levels and

schools. Therefore, it is not as if you can move the students around.

Expected Changes

The expected changes will be different for each school district. For example, one may

experience loss of students. While another school district may experience an increase of

students. Another is inflation. You are not sure if it will be better than the previous years or it

will be worse. There seems to always be a rise in student enrollment, but a “shortage in

buildings, classrooms, inadequate facilities, and the need to employ greater numbers of teachers

and other staff members (according to Brimley and Garfield, 2008, p. 38).


As we looked at funding different schools, we used the ADA to help in the decision as to

how much the schools would get. Now dispersing of the funds was not easy; it required digging

up and analyzing data to help in the decision making process. There were many factors to

consider. You had to look into the data from three years before to see a trend in the enrollment

and the subgroups leaving or entering the school district and inflation. This would give an
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indication what types of programs the students may need and in return calculate the per student

expenditure for each school.

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Brimley, V., & Garfield, R. R. (2008). Financing education in a climate of change (10th ed.).

Boston: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN-13: 9780205511792

Redwood City Education Foundation (2005). California public education funding

overview. Retrieved on Monday, May 3, 2010 from

Worthington School District (2003). Statement on funding issues that have impacted or could

impact the Worthington Schools. Retrieved on Monday, May 3,2010 from