School Budget Hold ‘Em - Educate Texas Leadership Forum


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  • This slide obviously shows the other districts that we’ve partnered with over the years…one thing to note from this relates to how we think about comparative data.Going to show data from DPS up against a number of these cities.We think comparisons to other urban districts are important – certainly looking at how DPS compares to other districts within the same state has benefit as well, but often we find that looking at other cities outside the state is also helpful in seeing the different tradeoffs that other cities that face similar challenges or that operate with higher levels of funding are makingThere’s sometimes a knee-jerk reaction to seeing comparisons to other districts and jumping straight to a conclusion that we’re too high or too low.We want to use comparative data to first provide context on how the challenges that DPS faces may be similar or different from other placesAnd if we are higher or lower, we want to understand what drives that – is it deliberate strategy? Is it an indirect consequence of something else?So I encourage you to keep this in mind as we look at comparative data in the slides coming up.
  • Betty’s Speaking Notes: So now, it’s time to play … School Budget Hold ‘Em … an interactive game that ERS has developed to help districts make thoughtful trade-offs as part of the budgeting process. We created the game initially to support one of our partner districts – Rochester City Schools in upstate NY. We used the form of a card game because we wanted to change up some of the typical dynamics that we were seeing in the district’s “traditional budgeting process”1. Break through the silos > the traditional approach was for every dept. to make a 4% cut, so it was a cheese-slicer approach – a little from everyone. And we wanted to promote a more holistic view of budgeting that would look across the district as a whole.2. Budget cuts/investments should always be aligned to district priorities -> we believe that even in tough times, the goal should be for districts to be able to invest in their priorities by cutting low value-added areas3. Create a “low stakes” environment -> making budgeting decisions is hard, these are tough decisions and it’s important to create an environment that can allow for open discussion and exploration of ALL the options – even the tough politically unpopular ones …4. Understand the relative size of cuts/investments -> we often find that people are MOST surprised by how much certain cuts/investments cost. So a good example is that in one of the districts, the standard thing to do when a district was facing budget cuts was to cut the central office. But we showed that reducing 10% from the CO – which is a huge dramatic cut – would only amount to 0.1% of the district overall budget. 5. And finally, wanted to create an interactive collaborative experience where everyone can engage in the process– often, budgeting discussions are run entirely off of spreadsheets which can be overwhelming …So the game was very successful in Rochester. We played it with the Superintendent and Executive Cabinet and it helped them determine budget priorities/cuts for the 2010-11 school year. We’ve used Hold ‘Em in a variety of other districts and organizations since, and we’re very excited to have the chance to share it with you today. Memphis Case Study -> used it successful.
  • Betty’s Speaking Notes: This is what School Budget Hold ‘Em looks like – the full deck has XX cards (Ask Justin to tell me ## of cards) … But because we have a limited amount of time to play today, we’re just going to get a taste by playing wihta mini-deck of just 23 cards Each card represents an investment or a saving that a district can make …, Cards are organized into categories – so for example, investments/savings around class size, teaching, buildings and land, efficiency, There’s a description of the cut/investment – with some detailed explanation and some FYI/considerations to keep in mindAnd there’s the amount of investment or saving shown as a % of the overall district budget. When we play with this with specific districts, we oftne will convert these into actual $ amounts ... And so this way, the district knows that it’s trying to close a $60m gap and so this card is a $2m savings … but in order to make it more broadly applicable, we’ve used our experience and analysis across our many districts to come up with an approximation of how much the saving.investment would represent as a % of the district budget Now, if you have an idea for an investment/saving that isn’t in the deck, you can create your own wild cards and add it inCategories that roughly correlate with the strategies that Karen referenced earlier … and we’ve grouped them togheer, you can looklike your class size options ….Across categories
  • Betty’s Speaking Notes:I’ll put them into groups -> go through the hands… make announcements at each of the time…. Okay, so how do we play? Everyone should have a handout with the instructions. The object of the game is to create a “hand” of investments/savings that help District X meets its target budget reduction of 5% while still moving towards improved district performance.So in other words, you have to weigh the potential investments you want to make against the savings you’ll need to make to pay for them. At the end of the session, you need to have a subset of cards where the numbers at the top – the savings/investments amounts – add up to a negative 5%So first, everyone will break into groups of 3-4. Each person will have a handout, but each group will share a deck of cards. We suggest that you spent a few minutes assigning roles and reviewing the rules.Then, you’ll want to read the handout – which provides some basic info about District X- it’ll give you some ideas of where you might want to invest/cut as a district. Then read through the cards – we suggest that you create piles of “yes, no and maybe” to help you get started. First talk through the scenarios and priorities and determine the INVESTMENTS that you want to include. Then given the INVESTMENTS you want to make, you’ll have to figure out how to pay for it as well as cut 5% overall – by reviewing the SavingsWe’ll save about 15 minutes at the end to discuss your experience playing the game
  • Betty’s Speaking Notes:Point of this discussion is to get their thoughts/feedbacks on playing the game, not on the specific hand themselve
  • Hold ‘ Em Screenshot #1
  • Hold ‘ Em Screenshot #2
  • School Budget Hold ‘Em - Educate Texas Leadership Forum

    1. 1. School Budget Hold ‘EmRethinking Resourcesfor Student Success Educate Texas Leadership Forum, February 28, 2012
    2. 2. Who we are …  ERS is a non-profit consulting firm, head-quartered in Boston  We work with leaders of public school systems to rethink the use of district and school-level resources  We analyze district spending, human resources, school organization and performance data to generate insight around resource strategies  We leverage this insight to design new ways to allocate and organize resources at the district and school level  Our work is grounded in over a decade of experience, working with school districts across the countryEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 2
    3. 3. Our partner districts include …EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 3
    4. 4. Agenda: An Interactive Exploration 1. Restructuring Priorities 20 Minutes 2. School Budget Hold „Em Game 45 Minutes 3. Group “Aha”s and Implications for Action 20 MinutesEducation Resource Strategies 4
    5. 5. There‟s no question why we‟re here today …EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 5
    6. 6. Budget gaps are systemic due to a fundamental cost structure that continues to rise regardless of revenue … • Longevity based teaching salaries grow at ~2-4% annually • Benefits growing at ~10+% annually • SPED spending continues to grow • Pre-set COLA increases • Tax revenue falling • Enrollment declining • Sudden drop in Federal FundsEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 6
    7. 7. Meanwhile, rising standards and the implementation of end- of-course STAAR exams present a rising standard for performance moving forward • Rising standards • Increasing student needs • Implementation of new end-of- course STAAR exams for HS graduation • Tax revenue falling • State/federal/grant funding declining tooEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 7
    8. 8. Where do you look to begin addressing the gap? 1 2 3 Pray for economic Identify new funding Restructure & re-imagine recovery sources what is possible• “Hope is not a strategy” • Local and national grants • Improve efficiency may have some impact, but • Make strategic cuts not enough • Redirect spending: de-invest in areas that are less critical This is what we’re here to talk to overall strategy in order to invest in more critical areas about today! 1. © Funny TimesEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 2. © Original Artist. Reproduction rights obtainable from 8 3. ©
    9. 9. The districts we have are not the systems we need… WE NEED WE HAVE • Schools and students with same needs receiving Equitable, transparent, and different levels of resources flexible funding across • Unintelligible or unreported school budgets schools • Rigidly defined budgets that don‟t match needs • Limited investment in recruiting, screening, & induction Effective teaching for all • Teaching jobs that promote burnout and isolation students • Salary and job structures that do not encourage effectiveness and contribution School designs that • Traditional schedules and staffing that do not maximize teaching match time and individual attention to priority effectiveness, academic needs or foster professional working conditions time and individual attentionEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 9
    10. 10. The districts we have are not the systems we need… WE NEED WE HAVE • Underinvestment in formative assessments Aligned curriculum, and professional development that doesn‟t Instruction, assessment, PD match needs • Limited investment to build and reward Strong school and district leadership effectiveness leaders • Principal jobs that don‟t empower innovation Central services that foster • Central office services that are not designed empowerment, accountability to improve productivity or customize support and efficiency to school needs Partnership with families, • Districts that pay too much for social services communities and outside and non-core instruction that could be experts and communities provided through outside partnersEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 10
    11. 11. In our experience, we‟ve seen that three of the highest priorities for restructuring in districts include: 1. Restructure job and compensation structure to attract needed expertise, promote teamwork, and link to contribution 2. Rethink standardized class size model to target individual attention by strategically raising class sizes and rethinking one-size-fits-all class size models for providing individual attention 3. Optimize existing time to meet student and teacher needs and extend where neededEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 11 11
    12. 12. High-performing schools are about team, not just individual performance Deliberate assignments to teaching team Each school’s specific School-based Collaborative expert support curricular, planning time faculty, and student needs Formative assessmentsEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 12 12
    13. 13. Maximum Teacher Salary Components TYPICAL DISTRICT MAXIMUM TEACHER SALARY =$90,000 100% 10% Leadership, R 10% esponsibility 80% Education 30% 60% Longevity 40% 50% Base 20% 0% ERS Analysis of partner and Aspen district salary structuresEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 13 13
    14. 14. Most districts devote less than 2% of all teacher compensation spending to reward increased teacher contribution or performance 120% $500 Million 100% 24% Benefits 80% >1% Responsibility & Results 60% 27% Longevity 7% 40% Education 20% Base 42% 0% District with Senior Teacher Force Source: ERS AnalysisEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 14 14
    15. 15. Industrial Age Compensation Structures don‟t match needs of information age work-force Starting teacher salaries not Attract NO competitive with comparable professional opportunities All teachers paid the same regardless of contribution or Retain NO role. Slow rise in salary & pension structure encourages low performers to stay Limited opportunity or Leverage NO incentive to take on greater Expertise challenges or leadership rolesEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 15
    16. 16. How can you promote restructuring of teaching jobs and compensation?  Build understanding of the current misalignments focusing on: – Raising salaries for the highest contributing mid-career teachers – Aligning benefits with market, to shift resources to more targeted compensation increases – Eliminating automatic increases for experience and courses  Support investment and profile resource trade-offs required for new school designs that invest more in: – Teacher compensation – Time for collaboration – Tool and support for understanding and responding to student needs  Promote implementation of new teacher evaluation systems that include much more than test scores so that they fit with new school designs  Support the revision of work rules to include qualifications and fit over seniority in staffing and assignmentEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 16 16
    17. 17. In our experience, we‟ve seen that three of the highest priorities for restructuring in districts include: 1. Restructure job and compensation structure to attract needed expertise, promote teamwork, and link to contribution 2. Rethink standardized class size model to target individual attention by strategically raising class sizes and rethinking one-size-fits-all class size models for providing individual attention 3. Optimize existing time to meet student and teacher needs and extend where neededEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 17 17
    18. 18. Most districts have opportunities to strategically raise class size in upper grades IN THIS DISTRICT CLASS SIZES ARE FAR FROM MAXIMUM AND DO NOT VARY BY GRADE 31 Average class size Contract max 28 25 22 22 22 22 21 Grades K-2 Grades 3-5 Grades 6-8 Grades 9-12Source: Elementary Grades Homeroom file Oct 2009; Includes elementary schools and K-8 schools (grades K0-5); excludes classes that arespecial ed 60%+, ELL 60%+; includes Advanced Work classes; excludes schools with Two-Way bilingual program; excludes classes with “mixed”grade (mainly due to teacher data NA)Education Resource Strategies 18
    19. 19. …and to target class sizes to priority subjects and studentsIn these districts class sizes for core subjects are higher than non-core AVERAGE CLASS SIZE BY COURSE TYPE 9th Grade Core Class Size* 12th Grade Non-Core Class Size 27 21 18 18 District T District L *Core class defined as ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies; Non-core defined as Art, Computer Literacy, Vocational, Foreign Language Source: District A and B 9th and 12th grade course data (internal – Resource Mapping presentation) Education Resource Strategies 19
    20. 20. Districts have more teaching staff, but use them for specialist positions outside of the core classroom and planning during the day GENERAL EDUCATION CLASS SIZE VERSUS STUDENT-TEACHER RATIO ERS Estimated Average General Ed Class Size Average Total Student-to-Teacher Ratio 26 25 22 22 22 20 18 16 15 14 14 14 13 12 District A District B District C District D District E District F District G Source: ERS analysis and district dataEducation Resource Strategies 20
    21. 21. Most schools and districts still allocate time in rigid blocks that don‟t change based on need or priority TYPICAL DISTRICT PERCENT OF STUDENT TIME BY GRADE & SUBJECT 100% PE 80% Electives 60% Foreign Language Science 40% Social Studies Math 20% ELA 0% ES 7-9th 10-12th Source: ERS AnalysisEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 21 21
    22. 22. Moreover Carnegie Units, based on hours, reinforce a rigid definition of “class” that inhibits creativity… vs.EDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 22 22
    23. 23. What can you do to maximize time?  Adopt a longer school day statewide especially in low performing districts  Move away from hours-based course requirements (Carnegie Units) toward learning driven measure of course completion  Promote investment in pilot models that leverage technology as a way to rethink the definition of a course and the ways that students receive instruction  Advocate for changes to funding systems to ensure that: Schools with the neediest students get more resources to help them catch up Resources come as dollars not staff to enable flexible organization of time and staffEDUCATION RESOURCE STRATEGIES 23 23
    24. 24. By taking on tough choices, schools can move toward transformed practice For the same cost a typical 25,000 student urban district can: Pay the top contributing Reduce class sizes grades 4-12 by 2 OR 15% of teachers 10K more Add 60 minutes of Allow benefits spending school day in the 25% OR lowest performing to increase by 10% schools Provide half day pre-K Give all teachers annual step increase OR for 50% of all Kindergarten studentsERS’ District Reallocation Modeler (DREAM)Education Resource Strategies 24
    25. 25. Now it‟s time to play …Why a card game? Hold „Em Experience Rochester, NY Removes us from the traditional Duval County, FL budget process of fighting for Prince George‟s County, MD resources within silos Memphis, TN Aspen CFO/CAO network Focuses on investing in district Council of Chief State School Officers priorities by freeing resources from PIE Network low value- added “historic” uses Enables teams to engage in open exploration of a range of options available to the district in a low stakes environment Builds understanding of relative size of different options Playing cards frees “non-spreadsheet” types to interact in new ways with the budgeting process Education Resource Strategies 25
    26. 26. We will play Hold „Em using a“mini-deck” with just 23 cards Complete Hold „Em Deck (60 cards) would take too long to play but you can order them online at What is a Hold „Em Card? Category Class Size 2.0% Investment or Savings as % of Description of savings budget or investment option Explanation FYI: Additional information Education Resource Strategies
    27. 27. How to play:The Object of the GameUse the Hold’em cards provided to create a “hand” of investment andsavings options to create a budget that moves toward improved districtperformance while still meeting a budget reduction target of 5%.Instructions Step 1 Form groups. Assign Roles and Review Rules 5 min Step 2 Read: Quickly read through the sample deck and create 10 min piles for “yes,” “no,” or “maybe” for each option. Step 3 Review priorities and select your investments: As a group 15 min review the scenario and priorities presented and then identify the top investments you would like to include in your hand. Step 4 Finalize your hand: Identify new budget total and find 5 min savings to meet it.Education Resource Strategies
    28. 28. Discussion Questions 1. What were the biggest insights and/or surprises regarding opportunities for district transformation during budget-cutting times? 2. Are there particular “restructuring priorities” that appear to have the most leverage? 3. Could exercises like this with the right groups promote more transformational action? 4. Who needs to be thinking like this?Education Resource Strategies 28
    29. 29. Want to play again? 1. 1 Play using the complete deck with 60 cards – order them online at 2 Play online at Please return the “mini-decks” to us!Education Resource Strategies 29
    30. 30. Education Resource Strategies
    31. 31. Please return the “mini-decks” to us!Education Resource Strategies