Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Paul Chapman


This study investigated the relationships of the leadership styles of superintendents and the fiscal conditions of local school districts with student performance across Ohio. To examine these relationships the Bolman and Deal survey instrument, "Leadership Behavior Description Questionnaire-Self," was utilized to collect data from superintendents to assess their perception of their leadership style. The fiscal conditions of the school districts were placed on predictability and sustainability continuums based upon state percentage basic aid and annual percentage change in per pupil expenditure over five Ohio state biennial funding cycles (1997--2007). Control variables for the study include district size, socio-economic status, locale and per pupil expenditure. Surveys were sent to superintendents serving the 614 public school districts across Ohio. Responses were received from 241 superintendents. 174 surveys were utilized for an inclusive analysis and 83 qualified for the primary study. An ancillary analysis was completed to investigate more deeply the relationships between district fiscal condition-predictability and district student performance with the study variables. Descriptive statistics were utilized as were linear multiple regression models to provide the statistical analysis.;Major research findings indicate: (1) Superintendents across Ohio champion the multi-framed leadership style (35%) followed by the single frame (27%) and the paired and the no-frame style (19%) equally; (2) Within these styles the structural frame (30.2%) was utilized the most, followed by the human-resource (26.3%), the symbolic and political (17.1%) equally and the no-frame (9.3%); (3) None of the study variables were found to be significant with leadership styles; (4) As a school district's fiscal condition-sustainability increases, so does the district expenditure per pupil and the district fiscal condition-predictability; (5) As a school district's fiscal condition-predictability increases, so does the number of students qualifying for the free/reduced lunch program and the district fiscal condition-sustainability. However, as the school district also becomes smaller, the district expenditure per pupil becomes less and the district is more likely to be urban than suburban; and (6) As a school district's student performance increases its fiscal condition-predictability and fiscal condition-sustainability becomes lower.;Recommendations from this study include: (1) Implementation of professional development activities for superintendents that includes an understanding in leadership styles along with an increased awareness of their personal leadership style; and (2) opportunities provided for federal, state and local funding policy makers to gain an awareness of the relationships between a school district's dependency on state basic aid and the district student performance.