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Assignment 2 SDFPA Miranda-Flores

Concordia University Chicago
Master’s Program
Amanda Miranda-Flores
2000 Canterfield PKWY E, APT 101
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Assignment Title:
School Based Budgeting and Allocations Paper
Date of Submission:
Assignment Due Date:
School Dist Financ Plan/Anlys
Section Number:
EDL-6150-1 3185.202210
Course Instructor:
Nathan Schilling
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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
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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
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
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
“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).
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;
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
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
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
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,
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,
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.
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
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Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting
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Research and Recommendations for School Based Budgeting
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