Don't pass me the ball

Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso, taking a page from Fordham's playbook, is remaking the city's funding system to push dollars and decisions down to the school level. Several principals (and their union bosses) are displeased, however. Some protest their smaller budgets under the new system-the plight of just 21 of 192 Baltimore City schools. But Tisha Edwards, a special assistant to Alonso, believes cuts will cause more political pain than educational harm. "What I'm finding is that principals oftentimes shy away from what are obvious cuts they should make because of connections to people. In some cases, the staff we gave to schools [under the previous funding system] was not appropriate, but it was the district's money so nobody cared," she said. One school of 300 students, for instance, employed four assistant principals; the district recommends one assistant principal per 300 students. More than a few principals, it appears, would rather central office make the tough decisions. Is that school leadership?

"Schools complain of money shortage," by Sara Neufeld, Baltimore Sun, May 19, 2008