Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership and Policy

First Advisor

Ben Pogodzinski


The research study investigated the organizational and financial structure of a school district that participated in inter-district school of choice. The goal was to see if choice, resident and non-resident, had any influence on these structures. The literature that I reviewed highlighted the various organizational and funding mechanisms that school districts need to account for when considering options such as school of choice. This research study was conducted on a smaller scale compared to studies that have been completed on a grander scale. The goal of this study was to review the organizational and financial changes that districts make to accommodate policies such as school of choice. The theory chosen, New Institutional Theory, was chosen as it provides a cohesive organizational structure (i.e., norms, structures, practices, cultural, etc.) outlook that provides the insight needed when investigating both organizational and financial structures of a school district. The research school district was chosen as I have familiarity with the district and wanted to investigate these changes on a smaller scale using both quantitative and qualitative data. The MI School Data system provided the necessary quantitative data to complement the qualitative data. The qualitative portion allowed me to select research participants that all have had varying positions within the school district and could provide insight into the questions that I was seeking to answer. The findings in this study found that the school district was able to manage the necessary organizational and financial structures given that the school district was losing students to neighboring districts while also receiving non-residential students. The district was in a deficit at the time of the study and was able to increase their revenues using varying organizational and financial strategies and come out of a deficit. Organizational changes that were notable were in administration (superintendent switch) and outsourcing transportation. Financial changes that were notable were an increase in the use of federal and state grants along with millage’s supported by the community. The use of the grant funding was for educational needs which allowed the district to use their general funds for basic needs such as instructional and non-instructional support, building repairs, and other needs that cannot be funded through these grants. It was noted that policy enactors should start to review Michigan’s foundational allowance (i.e., formula) and how some restrictions (i.e., lesser of the foundational allowance is given to accepting school districts) can impact school districts and their decisions to accept students into their district.