Anna Lukemeyer

August 1, 1952 – December 5, 2018

Memorial Statement by Timothy Smeeding, Lee Rainwater Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs and Economics, University of Wisconsin.

I am saddened to hear of the death of Anna Lukemeyer, a former research assistant, advisee and co-author. Anna was quiet, unassuming and very hardworking. She combined her legal and policy training to research and write important articles on school finance, the cost of disability for poor kids and their parents. I was fortunate to be able to work with her on these endeavors and to supervise her thesis. While we were not close colleagues, she will always have warm place in my heart. May she rest in peace.

Memorial Statement by John Yinger, EFAP Director, Trustee Professor of Public Administration and Economics

Anna was an excellent student in the Maxwell School’s Ph.D. program in public administration.  She finished her Ph.D. dissertation in December 1999 and received her Ph.D. degree from Syracuse University in 2000.  Tim Smeeding was her main advisor, and Bill Duncombe and I also played an active role on her dissertation committee.  Her dissertation won the best-dissertation award from the Association for Education Finance and Policy.

Anna turned her dissertation into an excellent book (Lukemeyer 2003) on the subject of education finance reform. Because of her training in both public administration and law, Dr. Lukemeyer was able to fill an enormous gap in the literature, namely the link between academics and the courts. Most states have had some judicial review of their education finance system, and hundreds of academic papers have been written on educational finance equity. However, the concepts and conclusions from these two spheres often seem to have nothing to do with each other. Thanks to a detailed analysis of court decisions and a mastery of the academic literature on education cost functions, Ms. Lukemeyer’s dissertation research brought these two spheres together.

Anna spent her career in the Public Administration Department at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. (This department is in the School of Public Policy and Leadership in the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs.) She was an active scholar, a dedicated teacher, and an interim department chair. She retired in 2016.

Anna and Bill and I continued to work together after she left Syracuse.  Our collaboration began with a chapter on the cost of an adequate education in New York State (Duncombe, Lukemeyer, and Yinger 2003). This project was followed by a paper to estimate the cost of providing an adequate education in New York City (Duncombe, Lukemeyer, and Yinger 2004). This analysis informed an amicus curia brief that Bill and I submitted to the Court of Appeals in New York as part of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. New York lawsuit. That same year Ana contributed a chapter to a book I edited on education finance (Lukemeyer 2004), and Anna, Yao Hoang, and I wrote an appendix on education finance court decisions for the same book (Hoang, Lukemeyer, and Yinger 2004).

The team of Duncombe, Lukemeyer, and Yinger then turned to analysis of the federal No Child Left Behind Act using our cost-function methods. We published an article in a professional journal (Duncombe, Lukemeyer and Yinger 2008b) and a chapter in a Century Foundation book (Duncombe, Lukemeyer and Yinger 2008b). Anna’s contributions to all these projects were substantive and she was a delight to work with.

In 2014, Anna asked me to join her in a cost-function study of schools in Nevada.  I was unable to take on that project, but I suggested that she contact Wen Wang. They ended up completing this project together, and their slides from a presentation at the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management are posted elsewhere on this web page (Wang and Lukemeyer 2015).

Anna was a wonderful colleague. Her work was careful, rigorous, and insightful, and she was always thoughtful and kind.  I will miss her greatly.


Duncombe, William D., Anna Lukemeyer, and John Yinger. 2003. “Financing an Adequate Education: The Case of New York.” In Developments in School Finance: 2001-02, W. J. Fowler, Jr. (ed.), National Center for Education Statistics, 127-154.

Duncombe, William D., Anna Lukemeyer, and John Yinger. 2004. “Education Finance Reform in New York: Calculating the Cost of a ‘Sound Basic Education’ in New York City.”  Policy Brief No. 28/2004, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.

Duncombe, William D, Lukemeyer, Anna, and John Yinger. 2008. “Dollars without Sense:  The Mismatch between the No Child Left Behind Act Accountability System and Title I Funding.” In Improving on No Child Left Behind: Getting Education Reform Back on Track, R. D. Kahlenberg (ed.), New York: The Century Foundation, 19-102.

Duncombe, William D., Anna Lukemeyer, and John Yinger. 2008. “The No Child Left Behind Act: Have Federal Funds Been Left Behind?” Public Finance Review 36 (4) (July): 381-407.

Huang, Yao, Anna Lukemeyer, and John Yinger. 2004.  “Appendix A:  A Guide to State Court Decisions on Education Finance.”  In Helping Children Left behind: State Aid and the Pursuit of Educational Equity, edited by John Yinger, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 318-330.

Lukemeyer, Anna. 2003. Courts as Policy Makers: School Finance Reform Litigation. LFB Scholarly Publishing LLC.

Lukemeyer, Anna. 2004. “Financing a Constitutional Education: Views from the Bench.” In Helping Children Left Behind: State Aid and the Pursuit of Educational Equity, edited by John Yinger Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 59-86.

Wang, Wen and Anna Lukemeyer. 2015. “Adequacy and Equity in Nevada School Funding: A School-Level, Cost Function Analysis.” Presentation at the Annual Meetings of the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management.