The Need for BudgetaryThe Need for BudgetaryReform in Local SchoolsReform in Local SchoolsRuel A. GrafilRuel A. Grafil
INTRODUCTIONPublic education in the Philippines is centrally managedservice delivered through the Department of Education whichis the national government’s biggest bureaucracy. As of 2008,its almost 600,000 workforce represents 46% of the total. Interms of budget allocation, education has been getting thehighest share in the national budget in recent years (around18% of the total, exceeded only by debt servicing). Of thatbudget however, 83% pays for salaries; the balance is dividedbetween maintenance and other operating expenses (orMOOE, 15%) and capital outlay (excluding school buildingconstruction, 2%). The Government Assistance to Studentsand Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE). A voucherprogram for the secondary level, is embedded in the MOOE,accounting for 12%.
At the local level, the DepEd maintainsschools divisions and districts corresponding tothe three biggest local government units –provinces, cities and municipalities. Schoolsdivisions, headed by a superintendent, exist atthe provincial and city levels. Depending on itssize, a province can have more than onedivision, which in turn comprise of a cluster ofschool districts at the municipal level. Headed bya public school supervisor, a school district canexist in a town depending on its size, or covertwo or more municipalities.
Problems Facing the Public School SystemWhat problems ail the Philippine public school system? In a presentationbefore the cabinet sometime in 2003, then Education Secretary Edilberto deJesus reduced these into two:(1) underinvestment in education; and(2) poor management of the public school systemHelped by the imposition of the 12% value added tax (VAT), the nationalgovernment has been able to increase its education spending in recentyears but it still falls short both in real terms and compared to its Asianneighbors. An analysis of the 2007 budget prepared by the CongressionalPlanning and Budgeting Department showed that the annual averagegrowth rate of the DepEd budget from 2001-2006 actually shrank by 3.5% inreal terms. And its total education spending as a percentage of GDP (2.9%)is lower than the average of developing countries worldwide (4.5%) andneighboring countries like Malaysia and Mongolia (both exceeding 8%), andThailand and India (both exceeding 4%).
In a recent report of UNESCO, the Philippinesranked 74thin terms of the Education DevelopmentIndex or EDI, falling bellow Mongolia (61st), Vietnam(65th), Indonesia (58th) and China (38th). The index is acomposite measure that is based on enrollment ratio,literacy rate, and quality (survival rate up to grade 5).
The Roles of the Local School BoardA Local School Board (LSB) is a special body created by virtue ofRepublic Act No. 7160 popularly known as the Local GovernmentCode of 1991. Its main duty is to allocate the Special EducationFund (SEF) to meet the supplementary needs of the local publicschool system. The SEF is an additional 1% levy that is collectedtogether with real property taxes paid to the local government. Itvaries greatly depending on the locality - from as much as P1 billionin the richest cities in the national capital to as low as P500,000 inthe poor , marginal towns. In Mindanao, it is not uncommon to findzero SEF as landowners hardly pay real property taxes to themunicipal government.
Local Government Code of the PhilippinesTitle Four. – Local School BoardsSection 98. Creation, Composition and Compensation.(a) There shall be established in every province, city, or municipalitya provincial, city or municipal school board, respectively.(b) The composition of local school boards shall be as follows:(1) The provincial school board shall be composed of the governorand the division superintendent of schools as co-chairmen; thechairman of the education committee of the SangguniangPanlalawigan, the Provincial Treasurer, the representative of thePederesyon ng mga Sangguniang Kabataan in the SangguniangPanlalawigan, the duly elected president of the provincial federationof Parents – Teachers Association, the duly elected representativeof the teachers’ organization in the province, and the duly electedrepresentative of the non-academic personnel of public schools inthe province, as members.
(2) The city school board shall be composed of the City Mayor and theCity Superintendent of schools as co-chairmen; the chairman of theeducation committee of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the CityTreasurer, the representative of the Pederasyon ng mgaSangguniang Kabataan in the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the dulyelected president of the city federation of Parents-TeachersAssociation, the duly elected representative of the teachers’organization in the city, and the duly elected representative of thenon-academic personnel of public schools in the city, as members;and(3) The municipal school board shall be composed of the MunicipalMayor and the District Supervisor of schools as co-chairmen, thechairman of the education committee of the Sangguniang Bayan,the municipal treasurer, the representative of Pederasyon ng mgaSangguniang Bayan in the Sangguniang Bayan, the duly electedpresident of the municipal federation of Parents-TeachersAssociation , the duly elected representative of the teachers’organization in the municipality, and the duly elected representativeof the non-academic personnel of public schools in the municipality,as members.
(c) In the event that a province or city has two (2) or more schoolsuperintendents, and in the event that a municipality has two (2) ormore district supervisors, the co-chairman of the local school boardshall be determined as follows:(1) The Department of Education shall designate the co-chairmanfor the provincial and city school boards; and(2) The division superintendent of schools shall designate thedistrict supervisor who shall serve as co-chairman of the municipalschool board.Section 99. Functions of Local School Boards. - The provincial, city ormunicipal school board shall:(a) Determine, in accordance with the criteria set by the Departmentof Education the annual supplementary budgetary needs for theoperation and maintenance of public schools within the province,city or municipality, as the case may be, and the supplementarylocal cost of meeting such needs, which shall be reflected in theform of an annual school board budget corresponding to its share inthe proceeds of the special levy on real property constituting theSpecial Education fund and such other sources of revenue as thisCode and other laws or ordinances may provide.
(b) Authorize the provincial, city or municipal treasurer, asthe case may be, to disburse funds from the SpecialEducation Fund pursuant to the budget prepared and inaccordance with existing rules and regulations;(c) Serve as an advisory committee to the sanggunianconcerned on educational matters such as, but notlimited to, the necessity for and the uses of localappropriations for educational purposes; and(d) Recommend changes in the names of public schoolswithin the territorial jurisdiction of the local governmentunit for enactment by the sanggunian concerned.The Department of Education shall consult the localschool board on the appointment of divisionsuperintendents, district supervisors, school principals,and other school officials.
Section 100. Meetings and Quorum; Budget.(a) The local school board shall meet at least once a month or asoften as may be necessary.(b) Any of the co-chairmen may call a meeting. A majority of all itsmembers shall constitute a quorum. However, when both co-chairmen are present in the meeting, the local chief executiveconcerned, as a matter of protocol, shall be given preference topreside over the meeting. The division superintendent, citysuperintendent or district supervisor, as the case may be, shallprepare the budget of the school board concerned. Such budgetshall be supported by programs, projects and activities of the schoolboard for the ensuing fiscal year. The affirmative vote of themajority of all its members shall be necessary to approve thebudget.
(c) The annual school board budget shall give priority to the following:(1) Construction, repair, and maintenance of school buildings andother facilities of public elementary and secondary school;(2) Establishment and maintenance of extension classes wherenecessary; and(3) Sports activities at the division, district, municipal and barangaylevels.
LSB: The True PictureOn paper, the LSB seems well represented; but in reality most of them arenot functioning well. Decision making has been confined to the eight-personboard where most often, “educational priorities” are being defined by itsmost powerful members: the local chief executive and the divisionsuperintendent.The following are the other common problems with regards to the LocalSchool Boards:1. The Local Government Code of 1991 identified local officials and schoolofficers as part of the LSB , but the law narrowly discussed theirresponsibilities.2. While the law reserves for the LSB the power to determine the neededbudget for the operations and maintenance of public schools, there is nouniform procedure in budget preparation. Since the law is silent about it,some LSBs plan the budget early quarter of the year ; while others makeplan from October to December.
3. The law should be clear on the percentage share of cities,provinces, and municipalities in the SEF because it has no criteriaon how much should be shared to LSBs that cover more than oneschool district. The LGC doesn’t specify either if component citiesare also entitled to receive SEF from their respective provinces,since all their SEF tax collections is retained within their cities.4. LSBs have different interpretations of the allowable expenses or ofprojects where they can pour the SEF. Since the law only namesthree priorities (school buildings and facilities, extension classes,and sports activities), the LSBs become cautious to finance otherprojects, which they deem necessary because it is not in the code.5. Since priorities are confined to corruption-prone infrastructureprojects and sports events, most LSBs fail to address other pressingproblems such as lack of textbooks, workbooks, and teachertrainingprograms.
6. Most LSBs disregard the School Improvement Plan(SIP) in preparing the budget. The SIP, a 3 to 5-yeareducation development plan that contains the visionand mission of the school including its profile,problems, needs and targets.
Naga City : Model Local School Board in thePhilippinesKey Strategies:1. Home Rule or “Half-full glass” Philosophy – This liberatingperspective anchored Naga’s LSB reengineering process. It enabledLSBs to become empowered entities that went beyond thetraditional function - laid down in the basic decentralization law – ofproviding budgetary support to local public schools. This, in itself isa controversial proposition. One school of thought held that theboard can only operate within the limits prescribed by the Code. ButNaga deliberately embraced the opposite – that what the law doesnot expressly prohibit, it allows.Innovative Actions: The Naga City School Board’s organizationalstructure was expanded to ensure quality multi-sectoralrepresentation. Representatives from the academe, business,religious, alumni associations and non-government organizationsnow sit in a community advisory council.
The participatory development process has largely helpedredefine the directions of the school board. For one, the school leveland sectoral consultations brought to its attention the stakeholdersoverwhelming preference for “soft infrastructure” – in the form oftextbooks, instructional materials, desks and armchair – over schoolbuildings, as well as the need for staff development in terms ofteacher training and performance-based incentives.To replicate the school board advisory council, there are localgovernance councils now in place in each of the 29 elementaryschools to more fully involve local communities in the managementof the public school system.
Conclusions and Recommendations1. Because of the Department ofEducation’s meager budget, the LocalSchool Board has indispensable role inproviding the financial needs andempowering the local schools’stakeholders in finding out solutions totheir unique educational needs andproblems.
2. The Local Government Code of 1991should be reviewed for amendmentparticularly on the ambiguities thatconfuse Local School Boards in carryingadministrative functions, in preparingbudget proposals, and in disbursing theirsupplementary funds.
3. Because the needs of schools differ ineach locality LSB fund should not belimited to construction and maintenance ofinfrastructure and ports events but also inother pressing educational problems suchas lack of teacher training, textbooks andother instructional materials.
4. Command responsibility and theprinciple of transparency andaccountability should be the central forcein the management of public schoolsparticularly the Local School Boards.
References:- Local Government Code of 1991- Jesse M. Robredo, Reinventing Local School Board in thePhilippines- http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/-depth/06/11/10- Wilfredo B. Prilles, Jr., NPM and Public Education in thePhilippines- Alecks P. Pabico, iReport. A school Board Makeover