When educators have a need for a product or service, they face a procurement lag. By the time the purchase is researched, budgeted, evaluated, approved, and ultimately acquired, the need may no longer even exist. At the same time, budget logistics mean educators often concentrate their spending at the end of a fiscal year, simply to use up remaining dollars. Despite more awareness of these problems in procurement, increased transparency and efficacy in school spending has a long way to go. In the meantime, these 5 uncomfortable truths about school spending waste hold true:
Imagine what would be possible if more K-12 professionals were empowered to contribute to their school buying practices. We’d see more motivated roll-out and less waste, because only the best and right products would make it into classrooms. And we would see a higher output of product usage attached to achievement. Most importantly, we could save educators the time and energy needed to do what matters: supporting students.
There is an utter lack of transparency in K-12 purchasing, because the data is buried. It’s time to leverage our resources to help educators bridge the gap among K-12 product selection, spending, and achievement.
In the 1980s, the organizational leadership world was introduced to the concept of the intrapreneur. Simply put, intrapreneurship is a working style that emphasizes innovation and risk-taking — traits we associate with entrepreneurs. The difference is that intrapreneurs use these skills within, and for the benefit of, an established organization.
Because “new EDGAR” rules already affect most purchases, school business officials should monitor their own implementation procedures through the entire life cycle of federal awards—including pre- and post-award procedures, cost principles, and even audit requirements. Many of the new rules reiterate previous statutes, but others significantly raise standards on oversight and accountability. Throughout the process, the rules make it clear that districts need to exercise due diligence to ensure that their purchases are sufficiently competitive.
Educators and vendors often report friction in their interactions. We hope to dig deeper into those feelings, facilitating discussion and generating ideas for innovation. This piece kicks off a series of conversations among key players in K-12 purchasing.
A recent survey found that only 55% of superintendents and 41% of principals consider themselves familiar with ESSA. It is critical that K-12 purchasing professionals understand ESSA and its implications in time to react and implement effectively moving into the 2017-18 school year.
You don’t have to go to business school to know that competition is the cornerstone of the global economy. Competition increases quality, lowers prices, and drives growth. Unfortunately, these effects aren’t always felt when it comes to the business of K-12 education.