Fiscal Analysis of a School Master Schedule
University of Montevallo
EDL 596, Fall 20**
November 11, 20**
Name of School: Case6 High School
Administrator Interviewed: Dr. Thomas
Number of Administrators: 4; Number of Faculty: 125; Number of Students: 1,600
1. Was the budget for the school a zero based budget or was the format for budgeting the school some other form of budgeting? Could the administrator use his empowerment to unilaterally push and pull monies, as they desired to meet the vision, goals and objectives of the school? If so have they ever had to do that to preserve the instructional program over some other aspect of the learning environment?
T: “Yes, the budget was zero based. I always came with the previous year’s budget and picked and chose which categories that I wanted the same and I argued my point not to waste time. For example, if I had 8 sections of chemistry and used $20,000.00 of consumables a year and if I was going to have the same the following year, I would bring that information with me. No, I could not unilaterally move money within categories. I had to apply for a budget transfer. That has to go to the board to be approved by the school board to move monies to different categories. Yes, I have had to move monies to preserve an instructional program. An example was the graphing calculators. We had classroom sets and they stopped making TI 90 and started making TI 91’s and they were about $100 more per calculator; we had 1600 of them. I had to cut painting the gym floor. I did a budget transfer and showed it was instructional and will paint the gym floor next year. I had to prioritize.”
2. What type of scheduling format (i.e. block, modified block, traditional periods) did the school operate under? Was the selection of a scheduling format due to financial considerations? If it's a block or a modified block what courses were eliminated in the elective instructional program and estimate the cost savings.
T: “I had a traditional schedule with a 9-period day and each period 50 minutes. I did this because it would have killed my electives. In the state of Pennsylvania you have 990 hours at the high school level to get a high school diploma. You have to take out the time for lunch, all passing time, homeroom and only count instructional periods. You had to be very careful to watch that. No this was not because of financial considerations; I am traditional. No courses were eliminated because it was not a block schedule.”
3. Did the master schedule format align with the school's vision, mission and goals or was that not a concern?
T: “It wasn’t a concern. The curriculum development process aligned with the vision, mission, and goals and once that happened, I didn’t have to worry about aligning that with the schedule.”
4. Prior to the beginning of the scheduling process were their instructional goals set that were meant to be cost containment items (i.e. incorporate on-line classes)?
T: “No, but there still were instructional goals and they came 2 ways. Every department had department meetings and they had to send me the minutes. I read through them to see what they were considering. At a cabinet meeting, they would pick up goals from me like STEM and where we can inject those initiatives. The goals were the road map to where you want to go and the vision and mission were where you want to go. They designed the vision and mission and I worked backwards to help them design how to get there.”
5. What were the scheduling process most important 5 steps and were school leadership teams/departments empowered to assist in the management of the learning organization?
T: “(1) Principal and teachers come up with instructional goals to find a direction and map. You have to know where you are going and how you are going to get there. Goal setting was teachers and administrators together. (2) Department meetings focused on the goals we came up with and they would decide what is realistic to achieve. The departments would go back to the teams and decide what is realistic and where there are obstacles. For example, we wanted AP American Government but have no curriculum yet so we would have to write it and the it has to be approved and that gets set to the side for the next year. (3) Tallies: Student bubble sheets for which courses they want to take and it goes into a computer and tells what everyone wants to take. (4) The Revised Tallies: When everything is cleaned up. Early childhood course had no tallies because the kids were children so they added tutors in the class to show enrollment. I never sent the Superintendent the tallies, I only the revised because if I sent the original, it would show I didn’t need the teacher. (5) Staff Projections and Room Matrix: If 30 is the maximum; you divide 30 into the number of tallies. That says I need 8.5 sections and I need that many teachers. I would need 9 teachers but wouldn’t get it so I encouraged them to go find the other .5 of a section before it got cut. The room matrix involved how many students, how many teachers, and how many rooms you will need to accommodate (even ½ of a section you need to find a room for 4-5 periods).”
6. When reviewing the tallies of student subscriptions to courses how did the administrator decide on the number of sections that were be offered (i.e. were there predetermined minimum and maximum class sizes)?
T: “Divide the maximum class size into the tallies and that is how you got your sections. What I would do is when I gave my report to the superintendent, I only reported where I needed more staff. We didn’t bring our total and we only had our needs. If I needed a French section I would bring my French tallies, my teachers that were certified in French, and what I need. In this school, I only shared what I needed. My district operated on the idea of if you were fine with what you had, you were good.”
7. If there were pre-determined class maximums and minimums how did the administrator, if they did, protect his faculty from cuts and instructional programs from elimination based class size mandates? If there were no maximum and minimum class size mandates, in your opinion, how might this impact the fiscal stability of the school?
T: “One I opened up study lists to find students. I offered combined courses only in electives. Course 1, Course 2. Art 1, Art 2, Foods 1, Foods 2. I combined them because the ones in 1 will need 2 next year so I married them. I also offered Monday/Tuesday/ Wednesday options. The curriculums were written so they could be flexible (PE and Speech). When enrollments were low, they would have speech Monday/Wednesday and science lab Tuesday/Thursday. It wouldn’t impact the stability. I would have flat lined everything. Stability would have gotten unstable when you take away. When you add, it doesn’t affect stability. If I had 2 sections of 15 that was ok, but if I took away a section and made 1 section of 30, then it would impact it by loosing a unit. If I add to and it needs another class in the matrix, then it affects the stability.”
8. When building the master schedule were all resources (i.e. classrooms and teachers) used to meet priorities that were set at pre-scheduling meetings (i.e. need for enrollment in the new music classes).
T: “Yes, for example if STEM was a focus, we would designate classrooms STEM and schedule around it.”
9. How did physical space available impact the instructional program and scheduling positively or negatively?
10. When building the master schedule were there plans to integrate new technologies into the school community? Did this result in any impact on other components of the instructional program?
T: “When you do scheduling, there will always be someone who has to float, no matter how good you are at scheduling. So you have to set rules. Rule 1: If you float, you could only have 2 preps. Rule 2: You would only float between 2 rooms. Rule 3: If you float, you try to give them a homeroom and float them right into their first room, which was the same as their homeroom. Rule 4: When you float, you always give them a prep, lunch, or duty period between their floating period. Rule 5: If I could, I would have the room empty the period before you came into it because you are come into it new and you need to prepare in it before the students came. Don’t use classrooms for study halls because you are wasting instructional space. Rule 6: Same hallway, same floor. Rule 7: You give them the same content in the same room. Example: French 1 French 1, French 2, French 2, French 3, French 4. Scheduling issues that would impact them were most teachers had 2 assignments, they were contending with the teacher whose room that is their home base, setting up rooms before class (writing samples on the board which is why the room was over before) and knowing which courses would conflict. Honors course kids almost always conflicted with AP Calculus. We had to have singletons; these are courses that are offered 1 period once a day and I had 70 of those. Sometimes they conflicted and the kids had to choose.”
T: “Once we established our computer labs, it never impacted us. After that was established, I wified the building, bought carts (10) with 30 laptops, and you could check them out. We wrote a grant for Smart boards so we had a Smart board in every room. All TVs and technology were controlled from the library. When I renovated, I wired every room (auditorium, conference room, etc…) with electrical outlets to make sure it was usable anywhere. Preplanning was important. Technology was never a problem.”
11. When building the master schedule did the administrator build in teachers to cover student study halls? Using $30.00 as the salary per teacher per period of work to calculate the cost to have teachers monitor student study halls.
T: “Yes, I had 40 full week study halls (Monday through Friday), 40 Monday/Wednesday study halls, 40 Tuesday/Thursday study halls, and 30 Friday only. I did not like study halls but that was where I could find more kids. I had a love/hate relationship with them.”
- It cost $421,200.000 to cover the costs of all of the study halls for a 36-week year and $2,340.00 per day.
12. When building the master schedule did the administrator build in teachers to cover student lunch periods? Using $30.00 as the salary per teacher per period of work calculate the cost to have teachers monitor student lunch periods.
T: “Yes, lunch was a 50-minute period. You have 20 minutes for lunch and you have the rest for study and socialize. There were 10 teachers in each of 4 lunch shifts (40 teachers total--$1,200.00 per day and $216,000.00 for a 36-week school year). I didn’t want para educators or teacher aides because I charged those people with setting the tone for the rest of the day.”
13. When building the master schedule did the administrator build in teachers to cover other assignments such as in-school suspension, hall duty, attendance office, etc? Using $30.00 as the salary per teacher per period of work calculate the cost to have teachers assigned to each one of these principal assignments.
T: “When I went to 9 periods I had extra people. These are called principal's assignments. I was allowed to assign each teacher 2 duties. Every period had two people that had clips. They carried clipboards and walked the halls. When they stopped the kids in the halls they took the kids name, where they were coming from, where they were going ($540.00/day; $97,200.00/year). 2 teachers for In School Suspension ($540.00/day; $97,200.00/year). I assigned 2 teachers to the main office ($540.00/day; $97,200.00/year). They wrote the hall passes for the Assistant Principals for students so they didn’t have to use the PA system. 2 teachers were assigned to testing ($540.00/day; $97,200.00/year). They set up schedules, ordered tests, had teacher-testing meetings; I never did anything with the nuts and bolts. 1 teacher in every period was assigned to be with the nurse ($270.00/day; $48,600.00/year). 1 teacher for morning bus duty ($270.00/day; $48,600.00/year) and 1 for afternoon bus duty ($270.00/day; $48,600.00/year). I bartered with them so you can come an hour late or leave early for bus duty. 2 teachers to do nothing but statistics to analyze our data and research statistics for meetings ($540.00/day; $97,200.00/year). 2 people to do after school detention ($244.00/day; $25,920.00/year). I bartered with these teachers as well. If you stayed for 2 hours after school for detention then these teachers started school at 10 and worked until 4 so I didn’t have to put an assistant principal in there. 8 teachers a day not counting guidance that were (trained) student assistants. ($240.00/day; $43,200.00/year). These assignments were done during the day for 1 period.”
14. Teachers usually are required to have a duty free lunch period and duty free planning periods. Using $30.00 as the salary per teacher per period of work calculate the cost of each required teacher free period over the course of one year.
T: “20 teachers had 2 prep periods that I couldn’t touch and had a duty free lunch (6 teaching periods, 2 preps, and a lunch) ($324,000.00 per year for 20 teachers). 105 teachers had 2 principal's assignments, a prep period, and a duty free lunch (taught 5 periods, and were off 4) ($1,134,000.00 per year for 105 teachers).
15. Were there parameters in the teacher contract as to how many different courses a teacher can teach before a new teacher had to be hired? Did this impact the instructional program? If it did not, or if these requirements were not present, in your opinion how may something like this impact the delivery of content?
T: “I had the stipulation that you could only teach 6 teaching periods. My first year every teacher got a 15-minute break. It did not really impact the instructional program. I only let it impact it if I wanted more staff or more money. I went after the classes that I knew I could put up to cut with board members kids so they wouldn’t cut.”
16. Using $30,000.00 as the annual teacher salary calculate what would be the impact on the school's budget if 1/2 of an English teacher was needed to be hired, one full time math teacher was needed to be hired and 1/2 of a chemistry teacher needed cut. What is the fiscal outcome of this?
- $30,000.00 would be needed because the addition of the English teacher and the cut of the Chemistry teacher would cancel out.
17. Related to scheduling is the link to the instructional program and staff development. If a new Science program was instituted in this school and all of the science teachers had to receive 5 full days of in-service per year how much money does that take from the budget allocations. Using $30,000.00 as the salary for each teacher. To offer the professional development would the administrator be required to cut from the budget elsewhere?
- 15 science teachers are at this school and it would cost $12,525.00 to have all 15 teachers out for 5 days of professional development. There is a possibility that the administrator would not need to cut from the budget because the district has 5 professional days before the school year, 5 days after the school year, and one day of in-service each month so the teachers could receive training during one of those windows. If not, the principal may need to cut elsewhere from the budget.
18. If there are professional days off on the master calendar for professional development using $30.00 per teacher per period of work calculate what do professional development days cost. If there were none then calculate using two professional development days and calculate the cost for the entire faculty to receive these two days of staff development.
- 5 district in-service days to start the school year- $168,750.00 for five days for the entire faculty
- 5 district in-service days to end the school year-$168,750.00 for five days for the entire faculty
- 1 day per month for district in-service (9 months)- $303,750.00 for 9 days for the entire faculty
- 50 minutes per month for building level in-service (9 months)-$33,750.00 for 1 period once a month for the entire faculty
- Plus everyday for 30 minutes at the end of the day (half of a period $15.00 for half of the period) –$337,500.00 for daily in-service for the entire faculty
- Total cost of all professional development and in-service for one year: $1,012,500.00 for the entire faculty of 125 teachers
19. Taking the total number of faculty into account and using $30,000.00 as the annual salary of each faculty member what is the cost of faculty ONLY for the entire school year?
- $30,000.00x125 faculty=$3,750,000.00 fir the cost of the faculty for the entire year
20. Did the collective bargaining agreement dictate the number of periods a teacher can teach, the number of periods they can teach in a row, the number they can teach before they have to have a lunch? How did the collective bargaining agreement impact the instructional program? (Positively and negatively). Did the administrator use any of the contract language to their advantage in adding to or preserving the instructional program?
T: “The collective bargaining agreement dictated that each teacher could only have 6 teaching periods. They were also required to have a 15-minute break. This negatively impacted instruction because I had to figure out how to cover all of these breaks and some of the breaks were in the middle of instructional periods.”
21. What else did you learn from this exercise?
- Going into this exercise, to be honest I was very nervous about learning what it takes to plan a master schedule for a secondary school. I do not have the slightest clue about running a secondary school so I knew that this exercise might every well be overwhelming for me. In elementary, all of our students stay in the same classroom for the entire day except for when they transition to PE, specials, lunch, or recess. For the most part, they are also with the same teacher all day. Therefore, when scheduling, the major considerations are only PE, special areas, lunch, and recess schedules. The rest of the day is allotted based on specific content areas but does not include any changing of location within the school. Throughout this year, I have had many teachers complain about their schedules because of time. When I worked through this exercise, I felt the overwhelming burden of an administrator that is not in an elementary school. Secondary level administrators must take into account classes, class sizes, sections of classes, lunch periods, study halls, duties, transitioning of teachers, and classroom locations. I feel as if I could study how to schedule a high school for years and still not know enough as I realized this truly is an art and if you leave out one minor detail, your entire schedule could be thrown off.
The next thing I learned was how much scheduling at the high school level impacts finances. In elementary school, we go based off of our units and class sizes, special area teachers, and that is most of the schedule as related to finances with the exception of professional development. As I responded to questions 17 and 18, I realized that the cost of professional development is astronomical. This is an area that, as a nation, is being pushing with such great weight and I now understand why administrators are frustrated when they do not see the new learning put into practice because so much was spent on providing that in-service for the teachers. I realized when you add a unit, you are also affecting the cost of professional development, supplies, teacher salary, lunch breaks, duties, and so much more. After being astounded by the costs to cover professional development, teacher salaries, and duties, I realized that those large amounts don’t even begin to account for all of the additional things that those classes in the schedule require such as materials, supplies, consumables, furniture for the rooms, and technology.
I have said many times before that I feel my calling is primary aged children and I have stood strong in that I don’t take jobs just to take them. Many have commented that at some point I may end up in a middle or high school just to take a job and I have firmly replied with, “no”. This exercise solidified to me that, yes, I could take a job in a secondary school as an administrator if one was offered to me. However, it caused me to think, would I really understand all that goes into things like scheduling having never experienced secondary school as a teacher before? I feel that I would not be as effective in this arena and now understand why teachers get frustrated when an “elementary person” is hired as principal in secondary or visa versa. You have to really have a good understanding of how that level of schooling works and know all of the “ins and outs” to be prepared to lead a school. I feel I still have more to learn about scheduling at the elementary level and am excited for this summer to be able to sit down with my administrators and watch this process happen at my level first hand. That time with them, along with this exercise, would make me feel very prepared to be able to do this myself someday at the elementary level.