TASA Summer Conference

by Coy Holcombe.  

Last week, Mrs. Beasley and I attended the TASA Summer Conference in Austin. This is an annual conference that brings administrators together to hear topics of interest going into the new school year. The theme at many of the sessions this year was school finance. Over the next few days, I will be summarizing some of the sessions that I attended. 

Dr. Bill Poston, Iowa State University – presented a lecture entitled, "Confronting Cutbacks and Critics". Dr. Poston’s main points included:

  • For the coming year, there will be a loss of about 300,000 teacher jobs across the country due to cutbacks in spending.
  • At the same time, the majority of the states have increased standards for students.
  • Critical Ideas for Systems in Trouble
    • Immediate action is essential – inattention makes a crisis worse
    • Haste makes waste – know the problem before moving toward a solution
    • Efficiencies come first, but they should be focused and selective.
  • Economic Confidence comes from three forces: alignment, prudence, and performance
  • Areas of Budget Planning Momentum
    • Organizational restructuring – clarify goals, identify alternatives, institute quality control
    • Decision Making – use of effective collaboration strategies
    • Performance Orientation – scrutinize operations with assessment, feedback, and use needs
    • Organizational Focus – limit our activities – don’t try to do everything
  • What it takes to work
    • Transparency
    • Collaboration
    • Tangibility
    • Quality Assurance
    • Productivity

Dr. Poston’s presentation was timely and necessary during these times of cutbacks. For the 2010-2011 school year, EISD used a version of program budgeting to examine expenditures in all program areas, to provide opportunities for collaborative decision making with regards to the budget, and to prioritize spending.

Tomorrow, we will talk about the current school funding situation in Texas. 

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