Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Richard Fossey


The purpose of this study was to explore how Texas high schools responded to a state law which: (a) established that schools must implement site based management (SBM), and (b) outlined specific parameters under which the SBM program was to be constructed. This study was conducted using a four phase methodology that included both quantitative and qualitative techniques with a sample of 19 rural, suburban, and urban high schools. Phase One involved examining district level support and individualization of the SBM program. Phase Two explored school level SBM program structure to determine the consistency between mandated SBM elements and the school level program. Phase Three examined teachers' perceptions of school and personal responsibility for decision making and teachers' perceptions regarding the implementation of mandatory SBM elements. Phase Four utilized teacher interviews, school observations, and data collected during the previous phases of the study, to construct narrative case studies profiling two schools from each community. Principals in rural schools reported little alignment with required SBM structure, preferring more informal methods; however, teachers in rural schools reported high levels of school and personal decision making responsibility. Although lacking compliance with mandated program structure, rural schools appeared to be compliant with the intent of the law. Urban schools had strong alignment with required SBM program structure, but urban teachers reported the lowest levels of school and personal decision making responsibility. Thus, while compliant with mandated program structure, they were not compliant with the desired outcomes of the law. Suburban schools had both the required SBM program structure and high teacher perceptions of decision making responsibility. The findings of this study indicate that community type appears to wield the strongest influence on SBM program structure and teacher perceptions regarding personal and school decision making responsibility. There did not appear to be a direct relationship between a high degree of alignment with mandated elements of SBM program structure with high teacher perceptions of decision making involvement. In addition, many schools engaged in creative non-compliance with the law by utilizing alternative decision making vehicles for which teachers were not elected and there was no community or parent representation.