This paper examines the extent of local authorities’ involvement in the financing of Hebrew-State elementary education, and the affirmative action policies adopted within the local authorities. The local authorities’ share of financing teaching hours in the Hebrew-State elementary schools between 2001 and 2009 was about 2 weekly hours per class, which is less than 4 percent of total hours and close to one-third of the hours financed by sources other than the Ministry of Education. Financing by local authorities has reduced the amount of affirmative action in favor of students from weak socioeconomic backgrounds over those from stronger backgrounds from about 32 percent (in the case of hours financed by the Ministry of Education only) to about 27 percent—a direct outcome of two conflicting phenomena: Local authorities with a strong socioeconomic characteristics made many more resources available to the elementary schools than weak local authorities, while in contrast, there was a significant affirmative action policy practiced in those authorities in favor of schools with students from weaker socioeconomic backgrounds—an additional 2–3 weekly hours per class.

There is a positive correlation between local authorities’ fiscal state and their investment in Hebrew-State elementary education: the elasticity of teachers’ work hours financed by the local authority to the authority’s average total revenue per resident was 1.2, and the elasticity to the authority’s debt per resident (in absolute term) was -0.4. Higher socio-economic ranking and better fiscal state of the local authority are correlated with greater affirmative action within the local authority.


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