After examining budgets from all kinds of schools, over the past three decades, two key findings emerged: school budgets reflect school values, intentionally or not; and, there are noteworthy ways to reduce the costs of operating schools. This text addresses two ways to gain insight and shed light on the question: How much does a great school cost? Sixteen educators were asked about their perceptions of greatness in schools, innovations worthy of pursuit, and barriers to change. This examination unpacks the expenditures and revenue options in existing schools; as well as, costs associated with an envisioned New School. This account addresses both an analysis of what is and what could be, at the same time as revealing innovative ways to save on schooling expenditures, and think differently about schools as potential revenue-generating institutions. Changing mindsets is at the core of school improvement, and while greatness may be defined in different ways, the budget will reflect what matters in an institution. A great school may not cost as much as you might think, but the willingness to re-purpose funds and generate revenue, can help jump start the engines of change.
Barbara J. Smith is a passionate educator with over forty years of experience in public, independent, international and charter schools in Canada, the US and Europe. Smith, who earned her PhD in curriculum from OISE at the University of Toronto has taught teacher educators, opened three new schools and has been a school principal in DC, Virginia and currently at the Giles School in Canada.
Part 1: Building Roads Not Taken
Chapter 1: Schooling Contexts for Funding
Chapter 2: Defining Greatness
Chapter 3: Who Minds the Money?
Part 2: What’s Worth Changing For
Chapter 4: Social and Emotional Learning
Chapter 5: Global Citizenry and World Languages
Chapter 6: English Language Arts and Fine Arts
Chapter 7: Science & Technology
Chapter 8: Pure Mathematics
Chapter 9: Physical Education
Chapter 10: Classroom Assessment &. Standardized Testing
Chapter 11: Reducing Class Size
Chapter 12: Scheduling for Change
Chapter 13: Staffing and Meaningful Roles
Chapter 14: Staff Development
Chapter 15: Learning Facilities
Chapter 16: Being Small
Part 3: How can we AFFORD change?
Chapter 17: Inside School Budgets
Chapter 18: Saving Money and Generating Revenue
Part 4: Preparing for Anything…
Chapter 19: Imagine If…
Part 5: The Currency of Change
Chapter 20: To Change or Not or Not to Change?
Fast Forward By Rick Wormeli
In this text Barbara Smith provides an extensive study from her insider’s perspective of the challenges and realities of schools with examples of best practices.
How Much Does a Great School Cost is chalk full of novel and inspiring ideas about how schooling could be radically different and would cost less. If you are dissatisfied by current schooling and want to be stimulated to new action that will radically improve learning read this book, and start using some of its ideas.
Great schools are a necessity, at any cost. Author Barbara Smith outlines considerations for school communities along with charts to help focus intentional conversations around priorities and outcomes. Budgets need to be inextricably linked to student-focused instruction and social-emotional supports, and not just rolled over from year to year. Question the sacred cows and the "we've always done it this way" to make the most of funds available, and explore ways to creatively increase income.”
Dr. Smith's challenge to 'grapple with ideas' takes us to the conversation of 'what is a great school and what is its value?
Amid the growing momentum for education transformation, Barbara Smith's book provides a most valuable tool for school leaders seeking to drive change intentionally and sustainably. School budget management has been a black box for too long. This thorough analysis of the finances of schools - with a view towards innovation - will help many.
This book is for everyone who cares about the future of education – more importantly, the future of students.