More Musings on School Finance

March 16, 2012 at 11:04 AM 1 comment

School finance is definitely not mission driven and procedures reflect policy and compliance. Further, an emphasis on Federal compliance guarantees that the details do not reflect the state and local exigencies, despite the fact that most of the money and all of the children are local.

The big headings in school finance include…

  • General instruction
  • Student services (special ed, guidance, etc.)
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Facilities

These topics fit the federal funding concerns. To think and manage locally, wouldn’t it be better if the last four items were subheadings to the bigger heading of educating children at each school?

Looking at the details, or lack thereof, in the federal requirements for school district reporting…

  • Details are in the sideshows, not the main event. For example, there are as many mandatory line items for the Agriculture subcategory of Vocational Education as there are for Instruction in general.
  • Mandated reporting is at the LEA (Local Education Authority) or district level.

What if we changed the details to recognize priorities within the mission of education and mandated that the reporting start at the school level and build up to the LEA aggregates?

Looking at how the business management functions within school districts are managed, there is a distinct shift toward, then away from, decentralization based on school district size.

  • School districts seem most like to decentralize business functions when they hit the 10,000 to 19,999 student size
  • Business functions are re-centralized for districts with 20,000 students or more.

Is there a creative shift that occurs in the moderate sized districts that could be exemplary for effectiveness within functions that is lost in larger districts? Or is it that a cumbersome collection of processes can be better underwritten centrally in the largest districts?

Anyway, just a few thoughts on a topic in development. Yeah, I can be boring…but I hate wasting the money dedicated to those who are least able to defend themselves.


Entry filed under: Financial data.

Mortgaging the Future of Schools Every Child Has a Right to Stop Failing

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Gerald namweene  |  March 29, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Most children in some parts of zambia drop schoo in grades between 7 nd 9


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