The impact of results based budgeting on the Oakland Unified School District

Researchers and policy makers have suggested that improvement in school finance systems could enable districts to be more effective in increasing student achievement. Results Based Budgeting (RBB) is the finance system currently used in the Oakland Unified School District. This study analyzes RBB’s impact on changes to the distribution and expenditure patterns from 2004 through 2008 in the Oakland Unified School District. It also investigates how principals use the autonomy provided by RBB and evaluates the differences in budgeting practices between schools that experienced differing levels of achievement. The data from a newly created comprehensive statistical database and from principal interviews provides important information. Recommendations are included that place a focus on further understanding the possible benefits of Results Based Budgeting for large urban school districts.