Monday, October 26, 2009

School District Spending Cuts

The school spending bubble is about to burst and the cuts taken last year are going to seem minute compared to what will happen in two years when the stimulus money is gone. Already schools are taking drastic action cutting sports, charging more for students services (now $200 for the right to park at school in Loudoun County, VA) and cutting staff. In Utah, districts sharply cut overhead positions and those who were affected went back into teaching positions putting a freeze on any new hiring.

But there isn't much overhead left to cut and the numbers are going to be large - so where are the savings going to come from?

Schools don’t work like a business. If a business is faced with steep revenue reductions they look to create efficiencies in their operations to ensure that the output can improve with less cost. There are many efficiencies that teachers can realize through technology and maybe, as the cuts get even deeper, we will actually see some of these. We are already seeing California move to digital textbooks – can digital classes be far behind?

School district spending cuts don’t have to reduce student learning as long as we finally leverage technology in the classroom. I think school districts will finally be forced to blow up the current staffing model due to budget shortfalls and finally use computers in the classroom to provide truly differentiated instruction.