Opinion
School & District Management Opinion

The Central Office (III): A Source of Money for the Classroom?

October 09, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

On examination, the first argument for mowing down the bureaucracy isn’t all that powerful. The central office does not deliberately interfere with school improvement policies as an independent actor, and the individuals who do could be removed if district leaders made following procedures to do so a priority.

The second argument, that the central office draws more funds than are required for its activities, and cuts to its budget will go to the classroom, is equally marginal.Money for the Classroom. If the central office can do its job with fewer people, any humane superintendent should see that the staff is downsized through attrition and reassignment. Still, as a general rule, downsizing does not increase the amount of money available to the classroom. Typically, districts are compelled to make central office cuts because the budget is already out of balance. Classrooms may see a greater percentage of the budget when the central office is cut, but not more money.

In the District of Columbia, Mayor Fenty is asking the city council for an additional 75 million in spending for the schools - after turn-around advisors Alvarez and Marsal found 74 million in potential savings across the system.

See also: Philadelphia; Florida; school districts; Greenville, South Carolina; and Flagstaff, Arizona

Bottom line.
Streamlining the central office makes sense, but more often than not central office cuts leave a bureaucracy with the same responsibilities and fewer people, and offers the superintendent a temporary respite from ongoing pressures to reduce classroom expenditures.
Related Tags:

The opinions expressed in edbizbuzz are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Using Integrated Analytics To Uncover Student Needs
Overwhelmed by data? Learn how an integrated approach to data analytics can help.

Content provided by Instructure
Professional Development Online Summit What's Next for Professional Development: An Overview for Principals
Join fellow educators and administrators in this discussion on professional development for principals and administrators.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Staff Shortages Affect Students, Too. Here's Where Schools Are Shutting Down
A few months into the third academic year in a row disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, at least several dozen school buildings in numerous states have had to shut down due to inadequate staffing.
1 min read
A Brownsville Independent School District bus acts as a WI-FI hotspot for students needing to connect online for distance learning on the first day of class Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in the parking lot of the Margaret M. Clark Aquatic Center in Brownsville, Texas. The bus is one of 20 hotspots throughout the city to help students have access to their online classes as part of the remote start to the school year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Several shool buildings in different parts of the country have had to shut down in recent weeks due to a lack of available bus drivers.
Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald via AP
School & District Management Opinion We’re Facing a Looming Crisis of Principal Burnout
Caught in the crosshairs of a pandemic and rancorous partisan battles, many principals have never been more exhausted.
David E. DeMatthews
4 min read
Conceptual Illustration of burnt-out leader.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty
School & District Management What Teachers Value Most in Their Principals
For National Principals Month, we asked teachers what they love most about their principals. Here's what they had to say.
Hayley Hardison
1 min read
Illustration of job candidate and check list.
Getty
School & District Management How Staff Shortages Are Crushing Schools
Teachers are sacrificing their planning periods, students are arriving hours late, meals are out of whack, and patience is running thin.
11 min read
Stephanie LeBlanc, instructional strategist at Greeley Middle School in Cumberland Center, Maine.
Stephanie LeBlanc, an instructional strategist at Greely Middle School in Cumberland Center, Maine, has picked up numerous additional duties to help cover for staffing shortages at the school.
Ryan David Brown for Education Week