Concordia University Chicago Master’s Program Amanda Miranda-Flores Student: firstname.lastname@example.org 2000 Canterfield PKWY E, APT 101 Day Telephone: 858-525-1434 Evening Telephone: 858-525-1434 Assignment Title: School Based Budgeting and Allocations Paper Date of Submission: 8/06/21 Assignment Due Date: 8/06/21 Course: School Dist Financ Plan/Anlys Section Number: EDL-6150-1 3185.202210 Semester/Term: Summer Course Instructor: Nathan Schilling Certification of Authorship: I certify that I am the author of this paper and that any assistance I received in its preparation is fully acknowledged and disclosed in the paper. I also have cited any sources from which I used data, ideas, or words, either quoted directly or paraphrased. I certify that this paper was prepared by me specifically for the purpose of this assignment, as directed. Student’s Signature: Amanda Miranda-Flores [Digital signature] 2 Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting Amanda Miranda-Flores School Dist Financ Plan/Anlys - EDL-6150-1 3185.202210 Dr. Nathan Schilling August 6, 2021 3 Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting In order to address the necessary issues that could impact the distribution of funds in this district, there are a few key areas that need to be discussed. In a meeting with the Superintendent, the Deputy Superintendent of Operations, the Assistant Superintendent of Schools, the Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives, the Asst. Superintendent of Equity and Innovation, and the Asst. Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, on January 4th (in order to give time before the budget is submitted to the board for approval in April) at 9:00 AM at the district central office, the need for reallocation of funds to support diversity and equity would be discussed. During this meeting, I would bring up the four key components that would impact how resources are currently being distributed in the district. These include class size, at risk students, teacher compensation, and school-based budgeting. In short, there is plenty of research as mentioned in the following pages to support addressing each of these in their own right, with the ultimate goal of facilitating school based budgeting to streamline the process for more equitable distribution of funds. Class Size Debate Summarized Class size has been a hot topic as long as education has been a formal public good. A study conducted in Tennessee called Project Star attempted to not only conduct research for the lower grades, but to find out whether or not the gains made from lower primary school class sizes would carry over through twelfth grade, and the findings were impressive. Biddle and his team (2002) found that “The results showed that average students who had attended small classes were months ahead of those from standard classes for each topic assessed at each grade level” (para. 31). However, there is a caveat to the gains of smaller class sizes. An interesting point uncovered in the literature indicates that class size only impacts student achievement when teachers do something different with the smaller classes (Fleming, 2002). The results found by Bonesrroning (2003) supports this assertion stating, “While 4 Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting lecturing implies that class size does not matter, tutoring implies that it might because tutoring time per student increases when class size decreases. Brown and Saks (1987) provide empirical evidence that teachers respond to a decrease in class size by reallocating resources toward low-achieving students” (para. 4). In addition, it appears that better teaching occurs in smaller classes because of the decreased stress on teachers to discipline, grade, and having time to get to know students. Zahorik (1999) noted that, “small class size has three main effects that lead to increased individualization: fewer discipline problems and more instruction, more knowledge of students, and more teacher enthusiasm for teaching. In small-size classes, there is less misbehavior. When misbehavior does occur, it is more noticeable, and teachers can treat it immediately before it becomes a major problem. This reduced, if not totally eliminated, time spent on discipline leads to more time available for instruction. More knowledge of individual students is an important result of smaller class size. Teachers come to know students personally, and they have a much greater understanding of each student's place in the learning cycle. A caring, family-like atmosphere develops in the classroom. When classes are small, teachers experience less stress from disciplining, correcting papers, and not having time to do what needs to be done. As stress is reduced, enthusiasm and satisfaction increase, and educators begin to implement teaching procedures that they know will benefit students. The main result of more instructional time, knowledge of students, and teacher enthusiasm is individualization” (paras. 7-10). 5 Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting In addition, there appears to be a greater effect of smaller class sizes on minority students. Fleming (2002) stated, “disadvantaged minority students seemed to benefit significantly from small classes. Berlin and Cienkus (1989) have likewise observed that "the need for smaller class size is inversely proportional to student's socioeconomic status." (p. 16) With all of the research pointing to a reduction in class size being an important factor in maintaining teacher satisfaction, and therefore improving instruction, I would definitely recommend a cap on number of students per class. While the ideal number appears to be less than 20, the financial reality of capping class sizes at 20 would be a nonstarter, so I would attempt to cap class sizes at 25-30 students, and attempt to mitigate the fallout of decreased individualized instruction by suggesting an after-school study group for students needing additional support. Reducing class size appears to beg the question of how to fund this endeavor, Francine Deutsch (2003) claims that it can be done “by reallocating resources from nonteaching staff to teaching positions, integrating all students into heterogeneous classes, developing a uniform curriculum, arid reducing specialized programs” (p. 50). Impact of Being an At-Risk Student, and Steps to Mitigate it When addressing the needs of all students, an important factor to take in consideration is the need to account increased services for students considered at risk. The first step is to identify who these students might be. A study conducted by The National Center for Educational Statistics by Kaufman & Bradbury (1992) found that “Black, Hispanic, and Native American students and students from low– socioeconomic backgrounds were more likely than other students to be deficient in basic mathematics and reading skills. These students were also more likely than other students to drop out between the 8th and 10th grades” (p. V). In addition, when controlling for demographics, they also found that there were additional groups considered at risk, and these included: “Students from single-parent families, students who were overage for their peer group, or students who had frequently changed schools; 6 Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting Eighth-grade students whose parents were not actively involved in the student’s school, students whose parents never talked to them about school-related matters, or students whose parents held low expectations for their child’s future educational attainment; Students who repeated an earlier grade, students who had histories of poor grades in mathematics and English, or students who did little homework; Eighth-graders who often came to school unprepared for classwork, students who frequently cut class, or students who were otherwise frequently tardy or absent from school; Eighth-graders who teachers thought were passive, frequently disruptive, inattentive, or students who teachers thought were underachievers; and Students from urban schools or from schools with large minority populations.” (p. VI) Once the at-risk students have been identified, the next topic of discussion must be how to help these students. Resilience research conducted by Shepard et. al (2012) suggests that the solution involves three main characteristics, “relationships, a vision of the future, and meaningful participation in learning” (para. 1). A high school in North Brunswick North Carolina has implemented an intervention pyramid that could serve as a useful example of tools to help support at risk students. These tools are part of an entire intervention strategy called The Pyramid for Success and they include: “The essential piece in this continuum of interventions is early intervention. For example, as articulated in the pyramid by Newman & Rollinson (2011), when a student fails to turn in an assignment, he or she is "ZAPped" [Zeroes Aren't Permitted). Being ZAPped initiates a process that assigns students to an immediate intervention session during the school day so that they can complete missing assignments under the guidance of a classroom teacher. In addition, students and parents receive progress reports every two weeks and students with grades below 77% are assigned to weekly tutoring, for which transportation is provided. Coaches, advisory homeroom teachers, and club 7 Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting sponsors are notified of this requirement and can help classroom teachers support struggling students. Curriculum-based tutoring sessions take place at Tutoring for Success centers, and student participation in extracurricular programs is tied to maintaining grades above 77% or attendance in tutoring sessions. Students whose grades remain below 77% for a period of time are referred to our Counselor Watch program for focused guidance counseling. Students who have been identified for any of the interventions may be assigned to Guided Study sessions to receive focused, small-group instruction and guided practice. Guided Study occurs during the school day; is led by a teacher; and can incorporate support for class assignments, instructional technology, and alternative teaching methods” (p.38). Randi Weingarten (2010), the current AFT president has her own prescription to ensure success for the nation’s most vulnerable. She cites the following six steps in order increase high school attainment: “First, we must provide every student with a rigorous, engaging and relevant high school education. That means—in addition to high academic standards and good curricular materials— giving teachers the tools, time and trust they need to help students; Develop "early warning" systems to identify at-risk students as early as sixth grade; Create individualized learning plans to address students' academic, social and emotional needs; Offer multiple pathways to graduation, from International Baccalaureate programs to career and technical schools, to extended time for graduation; Increase opportunities for service learning, a proven success; and Increase the number of nontraditional high-quality models like community high schools with wraparound services, small theme-based schools and magnets” (para. 4). Influence of Teacher Compensation on Student Achievement Teacher compensation, is the single largest expense for any school district, so it is critical to assess the current structure and look into alternative approaches. Kelley & Odden (1995) state, “Most districts 8 Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting pay teachers according to a single-salary schedule that provides salary increases for differences among teachers in education units, university degrees and years of teaching experience” (para. 1). However, historically teacher pay has followed the needs of societal trends. Oppong et. Al (2009) found that, “The evolution of teacher compensation models in the United States is directly linked to the organizational needs of educating large numbers of students as well as the economic and societal trends driven by industrialization” (p. 4). Protsik found that, “These models are categorized into three distinct shifts: an initial rural tradition of paying teachers room and board, a move to a grade-based salary schedule, and finally the shift to today's single salary schedule” (p. 1). However, according to Podgursky et. al, teacher compensation is not just salary. “Teacher compensation is the sum of four parts -- base pay, supplements, benefits, and deferred compensation. Base pay is commonly set by salary schedules that have evolved from generations of collective bargaining agreements, or in non-bargaining states like Texas, legislative fiat. Base pay is often augmented by various types of district or state-wide salary supplements (e.g., for coaching an athletic team, mentoring novice teachers, or participating in a career ladder program). Along with fringe benefits such as health insurance and paid leave, deferred compensation also comes in the form of retirement pay.” (p. 166). Teacher compensation is directly related to teacher attrition, which leads to lower student performance. In a study conducted by Zhang et. al (2008), “the national level analysis confirmed the current research that teacher quality is crucial in student academic achievement. Thus, ensuring a highly-qualified teaching force for all students should be a national priority in educational policies related to student academic achievement. Increasing current teacher salaries and providing participatory decision making are two key 9 Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting factors in reaching this goal. The findings from this study supported the importance of both higher teacher compensation and reform in the structure of teacher compensation” (p.26). The pros for raising teacher salaries include higher job satisfaction, which leads to lower turnover rates for teachers and increased student achievement as a direct effect. The con for raising teacher salaries primarily is the cost associated with doing so. I am of the opinion, that the benefits far outweigh the cost, especially when looking at the lifetime benefits of productive citizens on society (Goczek, 2021). School Based Budgeting Summarized School based budgeting is an excellent method to accomplish all of these goals. It is a shift in who makes the fiscal spending decisions from the more centralized district allocation to the individual school principals, teachers, and community members (Hadderman, 1999). This means that all the factors such as at risk students, teacher compensation, and class size can be addressed at the school level. There are several benefits to this type of budgeting according to Allovue (n.d.): “Those who best understand needs have the authority to make decisions Resources allocated to individual sites Creates a pool for R&D to test new strategies Drives a service-based culture in which central services are desired based on quality Allows for alignment of goals with financial resources” (para. 6) The way this shift is usually calculated is changing from the staff-based budgeting, to the studentbased budgeting. According to Odden et al (1995) “Under a traditional, district-centered finance system, a school receives resources (teachers, textbooks, and transportation), but rarely money” (para. 4), and in the student-based budgeting model, schools are given funds based on the number of total students, as well as the types of different higher needs groups like special education, English language learners, 10 Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting and low-income students. This, in theory, should create a more equitable distribution of funds. There are several components that must be individually addressed to successfully implement a school-based budget. According to Moser (1998), The Rochester City School District has an example of how to map out the way schools manage site-based resources as follows, “Under this program, the District's Business Services office assigns each school an allocation of resources for operating expenses. The School-Based Budgeting Team, or sub-committee of the SBPT, develops a school-level budget by identifying a staffing plan for the coming school year and a specific allocation for supplies, materials, textbooks, equipment, staff development and training, curriculum development, and other areas of expense as needed. Schools have flexibility over their substitute teacher line. Schools that do not use their entire budgeted amount of this line may use remaining resources to purchase additional personnel and supplies, within district guidelines. Since some expenditures are not broken down to the school level, such as transportation and building repair and maintenance, schools do not receive a "total" spending amount.” (para. 7). That portion of the district budget that is not allocated to schools is for the expenditures incurred by the central office across all schools in the district. In another case study in Edmonton Canada, school-based budgeting was implemented successfully allowing staff members, parents, students, and members of the community to weigh in and guide decision making (McConaghy, 1989). Now that Essa has been passed, transparency by school is going to increase making it easier to track school-based spending (Roza, Stewart, 2017). The cons include having to educate staff on how to make those decisions, as well as the difficulty in documentation and accountability. I believe that utilizing this model is still the best decision. 11 Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting Based on the example in Edmonton, which portions out 74% of district funds to schools, I would construct a model that portions out 70% of the district budget to the schools directly allowing teachers, principals, students, and community members to all participate in deciding how the money is to be used to directly impact student achievement such as Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions necessary to teach particular courses and for supporting student achievement for their particular student mix of general education, English Language Learners, (ELLs), at risk, and special education, according to student needs, in addition supplies, resources, equipment, services, utilities and maintenance for each school. The remaining 30% would be for district level expenses such as transportation and grounds expenses. In conclusion, each of these four elements should be addressed individually and together as whole with the students in mind. In order to ensure that important elements were not left out, I consulted with independent consultant Barry Bolek, Chief School Business Official (CSBO) for his thoughts. His concerns were mainly about how the 70% allocations for school-based budgeting would affect central office expenses, but as I cited in the discussion, there are school districts that allocate up to 74% of district revenues, essentially allowing each school to be the hubs of decision making for their unique student population and advocating to meet their needs based on current empirical evidence and research. References Biddle, B. J., & Berliner, D. C. (2002). Small class size and its effects. Educational Leadership, 59(5), 12– 23. Bonesrønning, H. (2003). Class Size Effects on Student Achievement in Norway: Patterns and Explanations. 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