Posts Tagged "budget"

Gallup Poll: Budget Cuts – And How to Do More with Less

Source: Education Week-Gallup Report (July 2014)

Source: Education Week-Gallup Report (July 2014)

A recent Gallup poll of superintendents reported that 45 percent of respondents intended to make budget cuts during the upcoming school year.  The respondents commented that they intended to make cuts in the areas of operations and maintenance, instruction, salary and wages, and administration. Note: A full copy of the survey results is available here.

Given the deep cuts districts were forced to make in 2011, it’s shocking that so many are again having to cut budgets. The burden of budget cuts is born not only by the employees who are released, but also by the remaining employees who have to assume the additional responsibilities of their departed colleagues. I often hear district leaders lamenting the fact that they keep having to ask their staff to do more … and more … and more.

Learning List can help. Learning List helps relieves educators of the stress and burden of determining whether instructional materials are aligned to the standards and would address their students’ learning needs. Functioning like a virtual curriculum department, Learning List develops detailed alignment reports and professional reviews to assist district staff and local selection committees narrow the number of materials they need to review themselves. As a result, they spend less time reviewing instructional materials, review the materials they are most interested in more deeply and ultimately make better informed selection decisions.

As a curriculum director of a large suburban district recently commented, “The question is not so much how can we afford to subscribe to your service; but rather, how can we afford not to.”

 

 

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5 Strategies to Stretch Your $

Stretch-Your-BudgetHave you ever wondered how your district is going to purchase all the new instructional materials your students need?  With the Association of American Publishers noting a four percent decline of instructional materials purchases in 1Q of 2014, school budgets continue to be under close scrutiny to maximize the ROI for education. Some states, like Texas, Florida and South Carolina, provide discrete funding for instructional materials. Most others expect districts to use general formula funding to purchase instructional materials.  All states expect school districts to use local funds to fill in the gaps.

But, if those funding streams aren’t sufficient to cover the costs of all the new instructional materials your students need, we need to think creatively. Here are five strategies to help you stretch your dollars so that you can afford the instructional materials your students need:

(1)    Get the most from the instructional materials you have purchased:  Make sure your teachers know how to fully implement the materials your district has purchased so that they do not purchase additional materials with redundant functionalities.

(2)    Align the materials you have to new state standards for the same grade and subject and then fill-in-the-gaps with supplemental products or high-quality open-education resources. Learning List can help!

(3)    Align your materials for one subject to the standards for another subject – then fill-in-the-gaps with supplemental or high quality open-education resources.  Learning List can help!

(4)    Buy/Sell surplus.  If districts have physical ownership over instructional materials under your state’s law, sell them if your district is not or will not be using them in the foreseeable future. Check whether your state’s laws prescribe when and how districts in your state may sell surplus instructional materials.

(5)    Use Federal funds.  Federal  funds may be used to purchase instructional materials for select students or for the general student population . Some of those funding sources include:

Title I, which allows funding to ensure “… that high-quality academic assessments, accountability systems, teacher preparation and training, curriculum, and instructional materials are aligned with challenging State academic standards so that students, teachers, parents, and administrators can measure progress against common expectations for student academic achievement….” and

Title II, which provides funds to: “(1) increase student academic achievement through strategies such as improving teacher and principal quality and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in the classroom and highly qualified principals and assistant principals in schools; and (2) hold local educational agencies and schools accountable for improvements in student academic achievement.”

You can use one or all of the above strategies to stretch your fund$ to optimize the ROI for your instructional materials budget. We welcome you to share other strategies that have worked for your leadership team.

ISTE Update: JOIN Learning List for an ISTE RECEPTION on Sunday, June 29th at 5:30 PM. RSVP Here.

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