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Driving More Money into the Classroom: The Promise of Shared Services

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Abstract:

Education spending constitutes up to half of many state budgets in the United States. In recent years, tighter state budgets, surging school enrollment in many districts (and falling in others), executive mandates, and court rulings have put increasing pressure on states and school districts to reduce education costs, especially for non-instructional services. Sharing services is a technique that both the private and public sectors have employed for decades and has been growing rapidly in popularity in recent years due to its proven ability to reduce costs. Sharing services creates the economies of scale and consistency of process and results that come with more centralized models. It also allows districts to maintain the benefits of decentralized control, allowing individual administrators to retain oversight of curriculum, education, and other aspects of non-shared processes. By sharing processes that aren't mission-critical while still retaining local control of the most important aspects of education, shared services can bring the best of big and small.