Journal of Social Sciences

The Effect of the American with Disabilities Act on Public Education Expenditures

Mark P. Gius

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2005.162.165

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 1, Issue 3

Pages 162-165


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 were enacted in order to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities. These two laws have had a major impact on public schools, their offerings of services and their budgets. The purpose of the present study was to determine if passage of the ADA in 1990 has resulted in a statistically-significant increase in per student public education expenditures at the state level. Although numerous studies have estimated educational cost functions, no prior study has examined the impact of the ADA on per capita educational spending. Results of the present study indicate that the ADA did not have a statistically-significant effect on public educational spending at the state level. Several of the leading drivers of per student educational spending included population density, per capita income and percentage of the state that is over the age of 65, all variables that school administrators and policymakers have little control over. The only two variables that policymakers have control over and that have a significant impact on spending are student-teacher ratios and the overall educational tax rate. Hence, if states want to cut public school spending, the only two avenues open to them are cutting taxes or increasing class sizes.


© 2005 Mark P. Gius. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.