Mission matters: The cost of small high schools revisited

Leanna Stiefel, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Patrice Iatarola, Colin C. Chellman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

With the financial support of several large foundations and the federal government, creating small schools has become a prominent high school reform strategy in many large American cities. While some research supports this strategy, little research assesses the relative costs of these smaller schools. We use data on over 200 New York City high schools, from 1996 through 2003, to estimate school cost functions relating per pupil expenditures to school size, controlling for school output and quality, student characteristics, and school organization. We find that the structure of costs differs across schools depending upon mission-comprehensive or themed. At their current levels of outputs, themed schools minimize per pupil costs at smaller enrollments than comprehensive schools, but these optimally sized themed schools also cost more per pupil than optimally sized comprehensive schools. We also find that both themed and comprehensive high schools at actual sizes are smaller than their optimal sizes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-599
Number of pages15
JournalEconomics of Education Review
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

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High school
reform strategy
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school reform
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Keywords

  • Costs
  • Educational economics
  • Efficiency
  • Resource allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Education

Cite this

Mission matters : The cost of small high schools revisited. / Stiefel, Leanna; Schwartz, Amy Ellen; Iatarola, Patrice; Chellman, Colin C.

In: Economics of Education Review, Vol. 28, No. 5, 10.2009, p. 585-599.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Stiefel, Leanna ; Schwartz, Amy Ellen ; Iatarola, Patrice ; Chellman, Colin C. / Mission matters : The cost of small high schools revisited. In: Economics of Education Review. 2009 ; Vol. 28, No. 5. pp. 585-599.
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