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6.09 Standard Nine: Resources. A principal is knowledgeable about the principles and practices for the fiscal management of schools or school districts. A principal should be and ethical business manages, responsible for the fiscal health of the school and entrepreneurial about non-state revenue sources to provide enhancements to the instructional process.
In their book, The Transparency Edge, Pagano and Pagano (2003) describe the importance of leaders behaving ethically. This can be extended to how they manage the money of the school. Somewhat similar to managing home finances, administrators must make note of what financial expenses are essential to the operation of the school. A wise leader will employ some vision regarding future expenses, ensuring that there are funds available when needed. I donít want this to sound simplistic. It is difficult to keep track of different funds, how they can be spent, and individual teacher needs.
The reality of public education is an increasingly tight budget. Effective leaders stay alert to other sources of funding or support. Efforts in this area can rely on help from qualified teachers, parents, and community members. Positive working relationships with parents and community members are that much more important when they can be involved in supporting the needs of the school with money and time. Many organizations and companies offer grants to school districts. Learning can be indirectly enhanced when administrators (or some subgroup) successfully tap this resource. Researching current grant offerings, honing clear written communication skills, and staying organized can help secure these funds.
My own school improvement process has used a similar approach. The Collaborative School Committee (CSC) spent considerable time reviewing test data, surveying school staff, and discussing how best to address student learning needs. The George Washington High School Improvement Plan documents the goals that we developed. In order to make these goals an actual part of our daily work, we needed to also evaluate the schoolís financial ability to support the changes. While some of the proposed changes require modifications to our daily teaching behaviors, some changes need money and/or salaries to make them happen. Participating on the CSC has given me unique insight into the process of considering and financing a building level change. We have been able to actively discuss and pursue outside funding sources. I consider these connections as valuable resources for my future as a program administrator.