Graduate Student Dissertations, Theses, Capstones, and Portfolios

Date of Award


Document Type


Granting Institution

Lynn University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Richard Cohen

Second Advisor

Carole Warshaw

Third Advisor

Richard McMonagle


The primary purpose of this study was to determine if Florida's public high schools provide a free education as defined by Florida's constitution. More specifically, the following issues were analyzed: (a) the extent to which Florida's 67 counties assess user fees in public high schools, (b) the extent to which user fees are represented as voluntary or mandatory, (c) categorization of the 67 counties with respect to consistency of user fees within and between districts, and (d) the relationship between the assessment of user fees location, per-capita income, and percentage of children on free/reduced lunch.

A descriptive survey research procedure was used. Data were collected from February through March using a survey instrument developed by the author. Usable data were received from all 67 Florida counties.

The following conclusions were formulated: (a) Florida's public high schools assess a wide variety of mandatory and voluntary user fees; (b) lack of statutory regulations contribute to the inability of districts to follow the constitutional mandate for free public schools; (c) the assessment of mandatory fees in Florida's public high schools is unconstitutional; (d) variables of location, per-capita income and free/reduced lunch programs have no significance to the assessment of user fees; (e) economic status does not affect the assessment of mandatory user fees; (f) there is no significant differences between and within school districts in the assessment of user fees.

Further study was recommended to address issues of policy, equity and equality, as they relate to the assessment of user fees both in Florida and nationally.



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