Thoughtful cost management without sacrificing quality or standards
We want our students to have access to a wonderful education and are encouraged to grow socially, emotionally and intellectually during their time in the Westfield schools. Yet, when evaluating each new program or initiative, we must always remain cognizant that 90-95% of the school budget each year comes directly from the tax payers of Westfield (In the last year 59% of Westfield property taxes – or $108 million – went directly to fund our schools). To act as proper stewards of those tax dollars, we must responsibly trim expenses from the budget wherever and whenever the students or teachers are not getting clear value from the investment.
We are fortunate that under the leadership of Superintendent Dolan and Business Administrator Dana Sullivan, many thoughtful cost saving measures have already been put in place. Their implementation of self-insured medical and prescription plans is a prime example of an initiative that resulted in significant savings.
It is one of my priorities to continue this diligent expense management. With all of the priorities we want to fund, it is imperative we focus on reducing expenditures wherever prudent. Some ideas worth exploring for additional savings might be:
- Self Insuring beyond medical and prescription: Since the original self insurance initiative has proved so successful, it makes sense to explore if we could derive similar benefits from our other lines of insurance.
- Joint procurement with the town: While the town and school budget need to be distinct, I would hope there could be a way to collaborate on the procurement of like goods. Similar to ‘buying cooperatives’ among districts, it would be wonderful to see the town and district find a way to combine their purchasing power
- Software usage monitoring: Educational software can be an amazing tool in the classroom, but there is nothing worse than paying for products that are not being used. The use of software usage monitoring tools are a very cost effective way to ensure we are minimizing non-impact spending.