Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Kyle Cook

Second Advisor

Evan Ortlieb


School district leaders can have a vast influence on school improvement and student achievement. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the experiences of school district leaders with budget allocation and decision-making responsibility for literacy and the factors that determined their budget allocation decisions. This study also addressed school district leaders perceived benefits of funding allocated to literacy development. Data was collected through in-depth, semi-structured one-on-one interviews. A thematic analysis, interpretive phenomenological approach was used to analyze the data. Themes and patterns that emerged from the data were: 1)literacy sets the foundation for the budget although doesn’t represent a high percentage of the budget allocation; 2) leadership comfort level varies in school finance and budgeting; 3) who benefits from increased funding and expected student outcomes; and 4) achievement starts and ends with personnel. The findings of this study help us better understand the factors that go into making budget allocation decisions and leaders’ perceptions of the benefits of funding on literacy achievement. If this phenomenon is better understood, there may be potential to review existing policy and practice so that school district leaders are afforded the training to make effective decisions on budget allocation and oversight on education finances for literacy improvement.