Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Pamela H. Scott

Committee Members

Cecil N. Blankenship, Donald W. Good, Eric S. Glover


The purpose of this study was to determine how Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B funds in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) were initially budgeted for sustainable or unsustainable purposes by the 50 Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in East Tennessee in 2009-2010. Federal guidance for use of ARRA funds suggested funds should be spent quickly to create or save jobs and support education reforms. Thoughtful investment in order to avoid the funding cliff when ARRA funds ended was also stressed. The one-time funds presented a substantial increase in federal dollars and provided opportunity for LEAs to reduce maintenance of effort, the level of state and local funds an LEA must maintain in order to receive federal funds. The study was conducted to determine if significant relationships existed among the percentage of economically disadvantaged students, the percentage of dollars taken in reduction of maintenance of effort, geographic demographics of the LEAs, and the percentage of dollars budgeted for sustainable purposes.

Data sources included the 2009-2010 IDEA Part B ARRA budget applications and 2009-2010 IDEA Special Education Services LEA Budget Applications as approved by the Tennessee Department of Education. The LEA Report Card Profiles were the source for the percentage of economically disadvantaged population.

Significant results were found in the difference in dollars budgeted for unsustainable and sustainable purposes with more funds for unsustainable efforts. No significant relationships were found among the percentage of dollars budgeted for sustainable purposes, the percentage of reduction in maintenance of effort, the percentage of economically disadvantaged students, and the rural-urban index classifications of the LEAs.

The study indicates the importance of careful long-term planning by LEAs to identify and prioritize needs in order to appropriately budget short-term funds to the best advantage for students. There may also be implications for state and federal entities that underscore the importance of specific structuring and clear communication of parameters for use of short-term funds.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.