A policy guide, “Spending Money Wisely: Getting the Most From School District Budgets,??? released by the District Management Council in May 2014 lists 10 high-impact opportunities that it says helps school systems “do more with less.???
The policy guide was created for those wondering how to help districts thrive, rather than just survive, within the constraints of their new fiscal realities. “For most of history, school budgets went up faster than inflation, and we managed ourselves well, given that reality,??? said Nathan Levenson, the council’s managing director and a former superintendent of the Arlington, Mass., schools. “That reality has changed. It is a world of shifting rather than of adding and, as a result, it requires new strategies and different types of data systems.???
On that list was the ability for schools to target new investments by eliminating inefficient and unsuccessful strategies. What may seem like a new investment being extracted from your current budget may actually be SAVING you dollars by allowing your school or district to eliminate inefficient procedures and redirect funds for other uses.
One such example is online registration. Online registration allows schools to eliminate outdated paper-based methods that are costly and time consuming. Implementing an online registration system saves the average school approximately $20 per student, however many schools don’t even realize the per student cost that’s involved with paper-based online registration and how these costs can be reallocated to cover the initial investment of a system. It really is about shifting rather than adding!
How to help? Here are the top 10 steps that school districts can take to manage their funds more effectively
1. Calculating the academic return on investment of existing programs
2. Managing student-enrollment projections to meet class-size targets
3. Evaluating and adjusting remediation and intervention staffing levels
4. Adopting politically acceptable ways to increase class size or teachers’ workload
5. Spending federal entitlement grants to leverage their flexibility
6. Adopting more-efficient and higher-quality reading programs
7. Improving the cost-effectiveness of professional development
8. Rethinking how items are purchased
9. Lowering the cost of extended learning time
10. Targeting new investments by eliminating inefficient and unsuccessful strategies
SOURCE: “Spending Money Wisely: Getting the Most From School District Budgets
Mr. Levenson said districts must work to both balance the budget and secure more and better services to improve student achievement.
“You can and you must continue to improve your schools even if you’re not going to have more money,??? he said. “One of the first steps is for leaders to believe it’s possible.???
Interested in finding out just how much online registration can save your school? Contact us for a no obligation school savings assessment to learn more.