Historically, during the third and fourth quarters, the finance department runs the annual budgeting process that authorizes following year’s spending on operations, discretionary programs and capital investments. Due to the timing of these activities, this process is typically uninformed by the Strategic Plan.
BCPS acknowledges that managing scarce resources is more important than ever for public sector organizations. Performance-based budgeting aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditures by linking the funding of the Strategic Plan to the results it delivers, which involves making systematic use of performance information. Projects and programs initiated from the Strategic Plan will be measured by their outcomes. A three-year performance template will be used to document and monitor the progress of projects and programs toward achieving the goals and priorities of the Strategic Plan.
In many school districts, teacher recruitment occurs during the end of the school year and summer months. Because this is the most competitive time of the year, many of the strongest candidates have already made decisions about the jobs they will pursue. Like businesses in the private sector, proactive school districts start early in the year to court and recruit the strongest candidates. Before the typical recruitment period, BCPS should already have its strongest potential candidates committed to joining our District.
For BCPS, recruitment of a highly talented workforce is a continuous process. BCPS recruits instructional and school leadership staff throughout the country, with the majority coming from Florida and the Northeast. In the past, the available pool of instructional talent was diminished because schools did not have authority to hire candidates for specific instructional vacancies until May. In addition, approximately 50 percent of vacancies were not declared until after the start of school because they were on hold until funding allocations were finalized. We need to ensure that all anticipated school leadership vacancies are filled each year before teachers report for the new term. If we want BCPS to have a competitive edge and hire top talent, we must be able to make firm offers to instructional candidates as early as February and ensure anticipated school leadership vacancies are properly forecasted and filled as soon as possible. Human Resources has been collaborating with other departments to remove the barriers, which prevent early hiring.
It is strategically critical for BCPS to recruit and retain quality staff. Teacher retention is a continuing challenge nationally, as well as for BCPS. Approximately nine percent of District teachers leave each year due to resignation or retirement.
National staffing surveys of public school districts show that 40–50 percent of teachers leave within the first five years. Career-committed teachers who stay in the profession are paramount. For BCPS, approximately 42 percent of teachers are retained after five years.
Research indicates that teacher retention climbs when an effective induction program, high-quality mentors, supportive working conditions and leaders who sustain a culture of success are present. The most recent BCPS teacher exit survey data show the main reason for resigning is “lack of support” (53 percent), followed by “relocation” (32.5 percent) and
“salary” (19.5 percent).
The Office of School Performance & Accountability (OSPA), the Office of Academics, Talent Acquisition and other departments continue to explore initiatives that may help to increase teacher retention. OSPA and Academics are participating in a three-year research project to examine different approaches to teacher induction. The results will be available at the conclusion of 2016. Talent Acquisition representatives are gathering information via surveys and visits with BCPS educators. This information and exit interview data will be analyzed to determine improvements to retain our high-quality teachers.
To ensure the success of our continuous improvement efforts, we must constantly measure the effectiveness of our business services, operations and processes. We must look for ongoing, incremental improvements that satisfy our customers and stakeholders, while shifting resources into our High-Quality Instruction initiatives.
- Implement a three-year budget performance template to document and monitor project and program progress.
- Provide ongoing, job-embedded training to all principals in school budget management.
- Use data to accurately forecast school staffing levels.
- Implement an Early Notification Incentive Award Program.
- Annually track and monitor BCPS across prioritized key performance indicators (KPIs), as compared to other large urban districts.
- Implement GPS enhancement designed to display bus locations and real time status updates
- Implement approved Disparity Study recommendations and policy revisions.
- Implement a learning management system.
- Partner with the New Teacher Center Corporation in developing and implementing teacher and principal leadership learning programs.
Since the 2012-15 Strategic Plan launched, the Transportation department has been successful in its transformation initiatives. Significant investments in technologies for daily operations include Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, a Kronos workforce management solution, and EDULOG school bus routing and planning software. These systems allow the management team to use actual data to streamline routes, reduce overtime expenses and identify opportunities to respond to District programs that require transportation.
Transportation will continue these initiatives and include a focus on school bus fleet operations in its next three-year Strategic Plan.
Procurement & Warehouse Services
Since the passage of the General Obligation Bond in November 2014, increases in volume and increased public awareness have resulted in aggressive changes to the procurement and warehousing systems, processes and policies to better align with the new direction of the District.
With a departmental vision to optimize spend, operations compliance and other value contributions in a manner that embraces the strategic goals which supports the educational needs of the District, we have identified a few strategic initiatives to include:
- improving tracking and monitoring systems to enhance our ability to provide real-time data;
- streamlining processes and structures for effective utilization of limited resources;
- implementing the supplier diversity Disparity Study recommendations by prioritizing and implementing both short- and long-term remedies; and
- shifting from a decentralized to centralized procurement model.