Colorado initiative could serve as model for Ohio schools

Guest Blogger

The Falcon 49 School District near Colorado Springs is implementing an innovative structure to their administrative system, according to this article in Education Week. ?You can read about it there, but the gist is that the district will be trying a very innovative new governance structure wherein the top four administrative officials (including superintendents) will have their contracts bought out, and the district will be divided into ?three zones.?? Each zone will consist of elementary and middle schools that feed into a high school and the head of each zone will be the principal of the high school. The zone-heads will lead all the schools in their zone, and will report to a CEO whose role deals strictly with academic issues across the zones.? Issues involving human resources, facilities, and transportation would be handled by the head of each zone, or under a newly established service operator position.?

Such changes would push decision-making processes and resources to the school level and reduce top-heavy administrative procedures (something that Fordham has called for in Ohio for years).?? The initiative is expected to better connect the community, parents and students to their schools.? Even more relevant (to Ohio especially) is that the move could save a lot ? a combined $2.96 million from not having to pay the salaries of the current four administrators.

According to Education Week, the proposal is currently in preliminary stages, and was designed to test the Innovation Schools Act which aims to reduce bureaucracy rules and regulations.? Districts are eligible to waive from collective bargaining and state laws if proposed changes have support from sixty percent of teachers.?

Ohio legislators and Governor Kasich should follow what happens in Colorado's Falcon 49 School District.? Kasich made a pledge to Ohioans during his campaign that he would reduce administration costs and bureaucracy to help get money and resources into the classroom.? The Innovation Schools Act in Colorado provides a framework for these changes and Ohio should?stay abreast of what's happening in the Centennial State, and possibly think about similar initiatives here to allow districts ways to reduce their administrative overhead.?

- Andrew Proctor, Policy & Research Intern in Fordham's Columbus office

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