Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




As the costs of education increase and financial accountability is questioned, cost-benefit analysis of school programs is a necessity. In order for such an analysis to be effective, an exacting method of costing academic programs is needed. The purpose of this study was to create a model for determining the costs of individual academic programs in elementary and secondary schools. This study purposed to answer the question, "Can specific costs of individual academic programs be determined?" A related question was also studied which asked, "Can all costs be attributed to academic programs?" The determination to include all costs involved in school operations was a uniqueness of this study;Five school organizations in the School Improvement Model (SIM) project, funded in large part by the Northwest Area Foundation of Saint Paul, Minnesota, were used to create and test the costing model. These five school organizations were Minneapolis Public Schools, Edina Public Schools, Northfield Public Schools and Breck (Independent), all in Minnesota, and Spirit Lake Community Schools in Iowa. The basic academic programs of fourth grade reading, fourth grade mathematics and eighth grade mathematics were the sample academic programs whose costs were determined. Data analyzed included complete line-item budgets, values of building and contents, square footage of buildings by program, enrollments and student and teacher time allotments. All costs were categorized as either fixed costs, organization-wide costs, building support costs or direct costs. Methods of prorating the costs to specific academic programs were determined. The data were managed with the help of the A.P.P.L.E. Spreadsheet software and an Apple Ile microcomputer;As a result of the development and successful application of a model for costing out the programs in the sample, it was discovered that individual academic program costs could be determined. It was further discovered that all school costs could be allocated to academic programs. Costs per pupil, classroom and square foot were figured for each of 41 schools;By utilizing the microcomputer, this costing model is a valuable tool for analyzing costs. Once data are entered, its flexibility allows for instant results and encourages analysis of alternate situations. This model provides a comprehensive costing foundation for program decision-making and cost-benefit analysis.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

David Eugene Lane



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109 pages