The School Administrator


January 2009 Number 1 Vol. 66Fiscal AffairsTransparency in levy campaigns and cost cutting


  • Transparency

    by Scott LaFee

    A story of four school systems that bounced back from decisive setbacks at the polls for tax levies and bond referenda through openness and ongoing communication with the public.

    Similar Reading:

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  • Trimming Costs in Personnel & Health Care

    by Ronald D. Valenti

    In 28 years as a superintendent, the author found some promising approaches to cost cutting, including two ideas he describes here — a differential staffing model and cost containment in health care plans.

    Similar Reading: Weeding Out Ineligible Dependents From Health Care and Expanding the Fiscal Toolbox

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  • Falling Short in HR Management

    by Jim Bastian

    The author, an auditor of human resource operations, finds most school districts succeed in payroll administration, employee recruitment and compliance with regulations but struggle in their handling of ineffective employees, information technology and performance measurements.

    Similar Reading: Douglas Gephart: Achievement begins with human resources and Stemming the Inbox Overflow

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  • When Looking Within Is Not Enough

    by Beth Boatright and Chrysan Gallucci

    With limited internal capacity to devise dynamic learning opportunities for staff, school districts sometimes seek partnerships with outside coaching organizations. The authors describe how a center at the University of Washington works with schools on professional improvement.

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    Upscale, But No Less a Challenge by Jay P. Goldman

    The influx of non-English speakers is testing Superintendent Mary Rubadeau’s acclaimed personalized learning system in the resort community of Telluride, Colo.

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    Board-Savvy Superintendent

    A Home Remedy for ‘Controlitis’ by Doug Eadie

    Being “authentic” as a leader can be counterproductive if one’s behavior is motivated by negative emotions. One such malady surfaces when the superintendent expresses an intense need to be in command of all situations and relationships, especially when the school board is involved.

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    Tech Leadership

    Caught in the Middle: Redefined Roles for IT Staff by Josh J. Middleton

    How to deal with the awkward position of the technology staff on the flowchart, especially when they are former classroom teachers. It’s not so simple.

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    Above Grade When Conducting Criminal Background Checks by Suzanne K. Bogdan

    What information from the background check of job applicants should preclude employment with the school district? Does your school district have procedures for the use of criminal background reports?

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    Guest Columns

    Lessons From a Lost Interview by Judith Palmer

    A skilled and personable superintendent was severely disappointed when she failed to advance past the opening round of interviews for a leadership vacancy. What went wrong? In the end, she found she was her own worst enemy!

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    A Mystery Shopper in the Public School Market by Edward D. Gagnon

    Word-of-mouth communication will perpetuate negative bureaucratic stereotypes about public school systems, something that can be prevented if school personnel view the school as a customer-service-driven business.

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    President’s Corner

    The Lost Cities by Randall H. Collins

    AASA’s president laments the view that America’s urban schools are lost causes.

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    Executive Perspective

    Merging Business and Education Know-How by Daniel A. Domenech

    While distinct differences exist between the operations of a business and a school system, many excellent management practices can apply to both.

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    Federal Dateline

    The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Nick Penning

    New federal investments in public education won’t happen without the direct involvement of school leaders in the affairs of Washington.

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    Recent movements up and out among school system leaders, along with death notices.

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