Document Type

Undergraduate Project

Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Committee Chair

Chad Wassell

Second Committee Member

Dominic Klyve

Third Committee Member

Anne Cubilié


How to allocate scarce resources for an optimal outcome is of keen interest to those who set the budgets in public education. Simply throwing money at schools is not enough; it is important that money is spent where it will do the most good. This study considers Washington State public school districts and examines how the share of per-student expenditures in seven budget categories relates to on-time high school graduation rates. It is an investigative study, exploring whether there is enough evidence to merit further, more in-depth research. Using budget and graduation information from academic years 1997-98 through 2016-17 for a representative sample of 63 districts, I estimated several dynamic panel models. From these I identified which budget categories most heavily impact graduation rates, and over what time horizon the impacts are apparent. I found no significant correlation and concluded that this would not be a fruitful avenue for further research.