Date of Completion

January 1984


Education, Finance




Private schools educate a substantial portion of the elementary and secondary students in the United States. Recent national studies have compared the enrollment characteristics and operations of public and private schools. These studies, however, did not examine the financial aspects.^ This study deals on a state-wide basis with the type of financial variables unavailable to national researchers. Expense and enrollment figures were collected for 1980-1981, from public, Catholic private, and independent private schools in Connecticut.^ Three basic types of analytical procedures were used to answer the basic research question; is there a significant disparity in per pupil expenditures between public and private schools in Connecticut? First, descriptive statistics provided the distributional characteristics of each of the variables including measures of central tendency and variability. Second, a two-way ANOVA using per pupil expenditure as the dependent variable and school sector and grade level as the two independent variables were used to distinguish differences between public and private schools. And third, two repeated measures ANOVA's of the Lingquist Type III Design examined differences between public and private schools by grade level, by school sector, and by five comparable categories of expenditure. Repeated measures were across all five levels of the third independent variable.^ The results of the two-way ANOVA indicate that there is a significant difference in per pupil expenditure between public schools and Catholic private schools but that grade level effects are the same for these two school sectors.^ Follow-up analyses in the form of a Tukey HSD Multiple comparison test indicated significant differences in the categories of employee benefits, and expenses for other support and administrative/instructional salaries, between the public and the Catholic private schools.^ Although there were no significant differences between the independent private schools and the public schools in the same town, by school type or by grade level, there were significant differences by category of expenditure.^ A conclusion from the analyses is that Catholic schools spend considerably less per student than either the public schools or their private independent school counterparts, even after adjustments to reflect differences in services provided. ^