Driving More Money into the Classroom: The Promise of Shared Services
In Ohio, approximately 42 percent of school districts have student enrollments less than 1,500. (Most of the state's 250 plus charter schools are even smaller.) For these districts, meeting a reasonable target of spending 60 percent of their budgets on instruction and 40 percent on administration proves difficult, due to mounting costs for health insurance, fuel for buses, education specialists, and other non-instructional items. Large districts can defray costs by spreading them over several schools. Small districts don't have that luxury. A new report from Deloitte describes ways for small districts to set up partnerships that allow them to benefit from economies of scale resulting from sharing services such as accounting, building maintenance, and school nursing. If cost sharing is executed well, the report notes, districts can benefit from scale and still maintain control over important matters like curricula, professional development, and teacher hiring. This report should serve as bedside reading for school administrators (in small districts and charter schools) who face increasing costs and shrinking or static budgets. You can read it here.