Education Reform:

School-Based Management Results in Changes in Instruction and Budgeting

HEHS-94-135: Published: Aug 23, 1994. Publicly Released: Aug 23, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the impact of school-based management (SBM) initiatives on education reform, focusing on: (1) how SBM implementation would affect school administrators' and teachers' ability to change schools' instructional programs and budgets; (2) the key similarities and differences in districts' approaches to SBM; and (3) how SBM would affect Chapter 1 programs.

GAO found that: (1) although SBM can increase school administrators' and teachers' control over schools and allow them to change instructional programs and tailor budgets to better meet the needs of children, the impact of SBM on student performance is unknown; (2) some schools have difficulty focusing on improving instructional programs and allocating resources because SBM approaches vary; (3) school budgets did not realize net savings as a result of the various SBM adjustments; (4) some school districts have implemented SBM as part of a broader education reform strategy and each district has emphasized providing school services; (5) the key differences in districts' approaches to SBM implementation focused on districts' fund allocation and budget development; (6) SBM could help districts increase control over the Chapter 1 program; and (7) school districts could improve SBM integration if federal legislation is enacted that would decentralize the Chapter 1 program.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: P.L. 103-382, Section III 5(c)(1)(c), directs incorporation of Chapter 1 plan into existing school planning.

    Matter: If Congress includes a new Chapter 1 planning requirement in legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the legislation should specify that plans developed by schools for Chapter 1 should serve district, state, and federal planning requirements so that schools can develop a single, integrated plan rather than multiple plans.


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