Monday, December 24, 2007

Reactive versus Proactive? What makes sense?

When managing budgets, where the lives of many hang in the balance, what makes the most sense? Should a good manager focus on where things are heading, or respond after the adverse conditions have already arrived? Just what makes sense?

When it comes to the Capital Facilities Plan, the District expends money in the form of salaries and fees to consultants to help forecast enrollment trends. When the last reliable CFP was generated, and adopted by the Board, all reasonable measures pointed to a drastic and irrefutable downward trend in enrollment. But somehow, the Board adopted the document but never insisted that the document guide decisions internally. Just what sort of chaos is that?

Wouldn't it be better to know in advance when your state checks are going to get smaller? Wouldn't it be better to know years in advance that you might have to trim programming a wee bit? Why wait until the bad news hits? Why wait until teachers start seeing empty chairs in their classrooms before you start slashing budgets? Why not make adjustments gradually over time - well in advance of financial consequences?

I remain convinced that the District, one person in particular, seeks to use enrollment realities as a weapon of war - slashing personnel and demanding that undesirable programs be cut or trimmed back to a less offensive level.

Forecasting enrollment trends is not the story of Chicken Little. It isn't about a single and lone voice screaming a message that makes little to no sense to anyone. This is clearly a case of a solid assessment, endorsed by Board adoption and yet no meaningful action was taken as a result. Current enrollment has demonstrated that the sky has fallen and that Chicken Little was right all along.

It's as if the District was speeding down the highway and only started wondering about the value of brakes after slamming into the car in front of them.


Anonymous said...

On one hand this person attempts to maintain an image of fiscal frugality and responsibility in a policing capacity. On the other hand huge amounts of taxpayer dollars are wasted on vain pursuits or incompetent decisions. In fiction this person would be painted as the villain and clearly identified as a schizophrenic. How does this affect our reality? Why have the leaders lost the definition of their own existences and act instead as rulers? Who is writing this as bad fiction? When can we expect the cavalry to ride over the hill?

Anonymous said...

What is really scary is that the person playing the numbers actually thinks they are smart enough to win "the game." The only thing is, the numbers are our tax dollars, and the game, our children's education.

Marla, go play with your own money and your own children's education. said...

I weep.