A public school district recently converted its budget from an object to a program format. The district is organized into three instructional divisions: elementary school (kindergarten through grade 6); middle school (grades 7 and 8); and high school (grades 9 through 12). In addition, it maintains support divisions for transportation, food services, and administration.
The district's two elementary schools are each organized in a traditional manner. They are headed by a principal and, depending on size, two or three vice principals. There are up to six classes for each grade; the teachers assigned to a grade form the equivalent of a department.
Each elementary class is within the charge of a single teacher. He or she teaches all the main subjects (reading, science, mathematics, etc.). However, specialist teachers may provide instruction in areas such as computers and physical education.
Under the previous object classification format, all appropriations were broken down by school and, if appropriate, by grade. The main expenditure categories included the following:
• Administrator salaries
• Teacher salaries
• Aide salaries
• Support personnel salaries
• Supplies
• Computer and audio visual equipment
• Library books
Under the new format, the elementary school division has two major programs: basic education and support. These are subdivided into the following activities:
• Basic Education
• Reading
• Mathematics
• Social studies
• Science
• Music
• Art
• Computer literacy
• Physical education Support
• Administration
• Library
• Computers and visual aids
Teacher salaries and other costs that cut across programs and activities are allocated to programs and activities on an appropriate basis, such as percentage of classroom hours spent on a subject (for teacher salaries) or amount of usage (for computers and audio equipment).
The district has set forth specific objectives for each activity. For example, the primary objective for ''reading'' is ''to ensure that at least 90 percent of students are reading at or above grade level as measured by [a specified standardized test].'' The primary objective for each of the other academic activities is similar.
1. Suppose that you are a member of the district's governing board.
a. Owing to an increase in district population, two first grade classes will have to be added. Which of the two budget formats (if either) would better permit you to direct additional resources to the first grade?
b. You are concerned that sixth graders are not reading as well as you think they should. You attribute their deficiencies to teachers spending too much time on ''frivolous'' subjects such as music and art rather than on reading. Which of the two budget formats (if either) would permit you to redistribute resources so that more time is spent on reading?
c. Comment on why the program and activity structure of the district's elementary schools, although closely tied to the schools' educational objectives may not facilitate allocation of resources.
2. Suppose that the district's high school is organized by subject. There is a history department, a mathematics department, a biology department, etc. Would it be more fitting in the high school than in the elementary schools to have a program structure that is tied to academic subject matter? Why?

  • CreatedAugust 13, 2014
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