Budgeting the Current Economic Crisis Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

However, when you look at the overall graduation rates of the district in comparison with the state average, one could effectively argue that these programs were failures by not keeping the district in line with the state number.

There are number of different programs that are restricted from being adjusted these would include funds that would fall under the categories of: other special education funds, internally restricted funds and externally restricted funds. Some examples of the different educational programs that are subject to such restrictions would include: the Parent Teacher Coordinator, special education support staff and the Safe School Initiative just to name a few. The reason why some programs are under such restrictions is the funds could be ear marked for a particular program or may be necessary to be in compliance with the law (such as a cutting of funds to special education could result in the district violating the Americans with Disabilities Act).

Steps that the district leadership has taken to address this issue to date and an analysis of why these steps have not resolved the issue.

The district leadership has taken steps to address the current budgetary crisis. However, the biggest problem is that instead of decreasing the overall amounts of spending they have allocated, it is increasing. Evidence of this can be seen by looking no further than the 2008 budget, where the school spent $5,584,981. ("School Budget Overview for 2008 -- 2009 School Year," 2010) This is a sharp increase from the projected amount to be spent of $6,466,362. Every year, the administration has been taking steps to reduce the budget shortfall. Yet, these different measures to cut what is allocated to the different programs, is pointless, especially when you are increasing spending. All of this is taking place despite the fact that the state is seeing severe budget shortfalls and is forced to make drastic changes. This is the main reason why the overall situation in the district is not improving. Where, on the school level administrators do not reign in spending, instead they are increasing it. Once this occurs at a certain amount of schools throughout the district, it is only a matter of time until the budget shortfall becomes more severe. In many ways, one could effectively argue that this is why the various cuts in the past have not worked.

Actions recommended to the district leadership in an attempt to address the issue.

The district must ensure that all school administrators are following the strict budget guidelines set. This is because obvious increases in the budget of a school, during times of severe economic challenge are irresponsible. Under normal circumstances, such a situation would be acceptable. Yet, when the state looses a $700 million dollar grant and has a budget shortfall, this is not the time to be increasing spending at the school. Instead, administrators should be focused on ways of keeping the overall levels of spending the same, until the current crisis ends. Then, they must also consider working with community out reach programs, to help offset the various programs offered to the students. This significant because taking an approach of making intelligent cuts and controlling spending will help to ensure that the highest quality of education is being provided. Given the recent statistics from the state, such an approach could help to improve graduation rates. Where, the district is lagging behind the state in every category for graduation, which is a sign that the status quo is not working. Over the course of time, the change in strategies will improve education and keep costs under control.

Clearly, School District 15 is facing a number of different challenges the most notable would include: budgetary issues and poor performing schools. This is because the overall amounts of spending are not being controlled at the school level, where PS 261 Philip Livingston was chosen as a representative school. What it highlighted is that despite the fact that there were budgetary challenges at all levels of government, spending was increased during this time. This is troubling because it shows that the school is wasting money. The increase could have been justified if the district had above average graduation rates. However, because the district is lagging behind the state average, means that they are increasing spending without showing any kind of improvement in the overall quality of education that is being provided. This approach will not help to reduce the overall severity of the problem; instead it will only make the situation worse. To alleviate this issue, the school district should force administrators to control their spending and improve the quality of education. One way that this can be accomplished is by having some non-essential positions / programs eliminated and then having community outreach programs fill the void. Using this strategy along with controlled spending will help the schools to reduce costs and improve how educational services are being delivered. This is significant because the current approach has the schools spending large amounts of money, without delivering the results. This is the heart of the problem that is facing School District number 15, where they have pressure to increase the quality of education, while maintaining spending at the same time. It is through understanding these aspects of the school budgeting process; that will provide the greatest insights as to the overall scope of the issues that are affecting the school district.

Bibliography

Fiscal Year 2010 Budget. (2010). Retrieved April 21, 2010 from NYC Department of Education website:

https://www.nycenet.edu/offices/d_chanc_oper/budget/dbor/galaxy/galaxybudgetsummaryto/display2.asp?

DDBSSS_INPUT=K261&PROG_YEAR=2010&POP_SCH=K256

FY 10 School Budget Overview. (2010). Retrieved April 21, 2010 from NYC Department of Education website:

http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/funding/schoolbudgets/fy10SchoolBudgetOverview.htm?schoolcode=K26

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NYC Geographic District 15: Brooklyn. (2010). Retrieved April 21, 2010 from Great Schools website:

http://www.greatschools.org/new-york/brooklyn/2714-P.S.-261-Philip-Livingston-School/

School Budget Overview for 2008 -- 2009 School Year. (2010). Retrieved April 21, 2010 from NYC Department of Education website:

http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/funding/schoolbudgets/SchoolBudgetOverview.htm?schoolcode=K261

Medina, J. (2010, March 29). New York is Denied Grant of $700 Million for Schools. Retrieved April 21, 2010 from NY Times website: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/education/30top.html

Otterman, S. (2010, March 31). As Schools Stay Open Space May Become Scarce. Retrieved April 21, 2010 from NY Times website: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/as-schools-stay-open-space-may-become-scarce/

Raab, G. (2009). School Allocation Memorandum. Retrieved April…

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