Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Johnson, Ane Turner

Second Advisor

Kerrigan, Monica

Third Advisor

Sun, Anna


Education--Finance; School boards--Pennsylvania


Educational Administration and Supervision


The purpose of this embedded, single case qualitative case study was to explore how business managers and superintendents in Pennsylvania school districts work together to develop adequate and equitable school district budgets in a time of funding inequity and uncertainty. This case study focused on business managers and superintendents in school districts that are identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as high poverty districts based on the district's aid ratio. Eight business managers and five superintendents from Pennsylvania school districts participated in a semi-structured interview that explored the experiences that they encountered in the budget development process. School board meeting minutes and videos were also analyzed as a means of observing the outcomes of board votes. Using qualitative methods, including one-on-one interviews with superintendents and business managers, this study focused on the interplay of decision-making, issues of power, and negotiation. This study was viewed through the lens of critical sensemaking theory that maintains that power influences how and what decisions are made in organizations.