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ERIC Number: ED532363
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Perspectives of Key Central Office Staff and School Principals Regarding Resource Allocation Policies and Procedures. A Report Prepared for Pasadena Unified School District. SSFR Research Report #02 (PUSD)
Chambers, Jay G.; Harper, Dorothy T.; Manship, Karen; Rosas, Rigo; Brown, James R.
Strategic School Funding for Results
As a starting point for the Strategic School Funding for Results (SSFR) project, the AIR/PLP (American Institutes for Research/Pivot Learning Partners) team developed a series of protocols to conduct interviews and focus groups with district administrators and school principals. The purpose of these interviews and focus groups was to gain an understanding of how the current budgeting system operates, and to obtain some information on the attitudes and perspectives of various administrative staff on the strengths and challenges of the current budgeting system and how this system measures up against some of the policy goals of SSFR, such as equity, transparency, accountability, innovation, and efficiency. SSFR interviews began in November of 2009 with focus group interviews of the Superintendent's Cabinet. Individual principal interviews were conducted between January 15 and January 22 of 2010. Two elementary, two middle, and one high school principal were interviewed. Pasadena allocates resources using a traditional staffing model. Schools are granted virtually no discretion over general fund allocations which are used to cover staff salaries. Most of categorical funds come from Title I and schools have only limited discretion over how these funds are used. Pasadena addresses equity primarily through the distribution of categorical funds like Title I, but it also has a history of perceived issues around the provision of equal educational opportunity for racial and ethnic minorities. Schools do not have control over their staffing, but district personnel reported that equity is achieved by getting an "even distribution" of the best teachers to schools across the district. The district administration expressed concern that not all principals are ready for the kind of responsibility implied by the increased autonomy that is a part of the SSFR policy components. Some principals also shared this sentiment, indicating that they were not sure that they wanted more budget responsibility, control, and authority. While elementary principals seemed satisfied with the role they have in the budget process, secondary principals reported that they would like more flexibility and authority over their total budgets with the understanding that the accountability stakes would be higher. According to one person interviewed, to make a substantial improvement in the quality of instruction, the principals "need to play an active role in the recruitment and hiring of teachers." Regarding innovation and efficiency, interviewees indicated that there is no flexibility to carry over funds from one year to the next, and that this lack of flexibility creates an incentive for principals to "use it or lose it." Principals indicated that they would like to know more about the implications of SSFR for their day-to-day activities. The authors also found there to be a general lack of understanding and will to comprehend the budgeting processes within the district. And finally, the respondents indicated that they saw value in the district exploring other avenues for allocating resources to schools. (Contains 3 footnotes.) [For technical appendix, "Perspectives of Key Central Office Staff and School Principals Regarding Resource Allocation Policies and Procedures--Technical Appendix. A Report Prepared for Pasadena Unified School District. SSFR Research Report #02 (PUSD)," see ED532356.]
Strategic School Funding for Results. Available from: American Institutes for Research. 2800 Campus Drive Suite 200, San Mateo, CA 94403. Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; Ford Foundation
Authoring Institution: Strategic School Funding for Results (SSFR)