Book Reviews

Reallocating Resources

by Allan Odden and Sarah Archibald

Reviewed by
Cecelia W. Krill
Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.


This book’s title, Reallocating Resources: How to Boost Student Achievement Without Asking for More, is certainly an attention-getter for public school leaders today. The authors do not let us down.

Allan Odden, professor of educational administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a widely recognized school finance expert, and Sarah Archibald, a researcher at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provide a practical framework for rethinking how we use our resources in this short, readable book.

Resource Reallocation focuses not only on funds, but also on staffing, use of building space and instructional time. Every initiative is tied squarely to improving student achievement. One of the book’s strengths is that it discusses resource reallocation as a key component in the larger comprehensive school improvement process and not as a separate budget preparation item. Real school examples add credibility to their discussion.

Odden and Archibald make clear they do not mean to imply current funding levels are adequate to meet state standards and local goals for student achievement. They recognize the differences in funding levels among and within the states and the unique circumstances of local school districts.

Readers will notice the tone does shift from collaborative to administrative decision making in the latter part of the book. Nonetheless, this book will provoke school leaders to reconsider how their own existing resources might be reallocated to address schoolwide improvement efforts and better student learning.

(Reallocating Resources: How to Boost Student Achievement Without Asking for More, by Allan Odden and Sarah Archibald, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2001, 106 pp. with index, $55.95 hardcover, $24.95 softcover. Available from Amazon.com.)