Skip Navigation
Dedication

In memory of
Walter I. Garms,
1925-1989

This years Selected Papers in School Finance is dedicated to Walter I. Garms, who performed the magic of calculating the equity of state-school-aid formulas when personal computers were still in their infancy, and mainframes were laboriously difficult to use. He helped to explain the use of those rare equity measures, the Lorenz Curve and the Gini Index, in school finance research as early as 1975 (a decade before Berne and Stiefel's classic The Measurement of Equity in School Finance). Dr. Garms frequently collaborated with the most prestigious education finance scholars of the time, and produced a classic textbook with James Guthrie and Lawrence Pierce, School Finance: the Economics and Politics of Public Education. His concern revolved about three basic questions in school finance: Who should pay? Who should benefit? Who should govern? He was an expert witness in many of the school finance equity cases we now consider as turning points in education finance equity, including Serrano v. Priest, Robinson v. Cahill, and Levittown v. Nyquist.

Dr. Garms received his Ph.D. in 1967 from Stanford University. He taught in the Antioch, California schools from 1950 to 1958, later becoming an Assistant Superintendent for Business Services. As a professor of education, he taught at Teachers College, Columbia University from 1967 to 1972, and then at the University of Rochester from 1972-1987, becoming a dean. In 1987, he moved to the University of California, Berkeley, to be near his children.

Those of us who knew "Mickey" (as he was affectionately known) were always delighted by his quick humor, and the facile manner in which he explained terribly complex economic formulas and measurements in terms which were so readily understandable and memorable, even enjoyable. Only a few days before his unexpected death, there are those of us who remember him flying that tiny, one-engine Cessna plane of his to deliver necessities to Watsonville, California to those unfortunate victims of the October 17 San Francisco California earthquake. Those students of education finance who are seeking a role model for which to conduct themselves and their work need look no further than the professional and personal life Mickey lived.

Back to the Table of Contents