UBC Theses and Dissertations
The role of the special education administrator in district funding : an exploratory study Scruton, Andrew M.
This thesis examined the relationship between special education administrator role priorities and level of funding received by school districts in British Columbia. Data were obtained from the Ministry of Education on the number of students in special education categories claimed for funding. These data demonstrated an extreme variability in the proportions of students claimed for funding by the various school districts. In an attempt to examine this variability and suggest some possible explanations for it, this study was undertaken. One possible variable that might influence the number of students claimed for funding was examined: special education administrator role priorities. Special education administrators were asked to priorise the three roles of administrative behaviour as identified by Cuban. These role priorities were then related to the level of funding received by the district. Evidence was found to indicate that there may be a systematic relationship between the role priorities of special education administrators working in districts with low levels of funding and the level of funding received by the district. In addition, evidence was found to suggest that the priority assigned to the instructional role may differentiate between administrators working in low funded districts as compared with those working in high funded districts. The implications from the findings of the study suggest that: the framework of administrator role priorities developed by Cuban may be appropriate to describe the variability of special education administrator behaviour; the existence of the relationship between the priority assigned to the instructional role and district funding level has practical significance for the structuring of special education funding mechanisms and for the day to day work of the special education administrator. In addition, the study has implications for future research regarding the uniqueness of the instructional role and the relationship between the role priorities of special education administrators and district outcomes other than funding level.
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