ERS partnered with New Haven Public Schools to perform a Strategic Resource Map, to gain insight into how NHPS uses its resources of people, time, and money, and to look for resources to invest in teacher leadership roles.
With about 21,000 students, New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) is the second largest school district in the state of Connecticut. 77% of its students qualify for free-and-reduced price lunch, and 12% are English Language Learners. Like many urban districts, NHPS would like to improve its student performance – currently, for every 10 kids in middle school, 9 say they want to go to college, 5 go and 2 finish. NHPS oversees a diverse portfolio of schools (about half of which are magnets), and wants to understand how it can use its resources more effectively to raise student achievement across all its schools.
Our work has shifted NHPS’ understanding of their resources from a world of limits to a world of possibilities. Some selected outcomes of the partnership include:
New Resource Reallocation Opportunities: School Budget Hold’em is one of ERS’ key group exercises, wherein district leaders consider various investments and savings with an eye to student impact and a budget target. During the exercise, district and union leaders identified over $13M potential savings and $7M potential investments to consider. This experience will influence the five year strategic plan that NHPS is now writing.
New Tool to Model Staffing: In our funding analysis, we found that school staffing in NHPS was not necessarily tied to student enrollment. ERS created an Excel model that will allow NHPS to allocate staff to schools based on set ratios tied to enrollment. This should create more equity of resources among its schools.
New Financial Modelling Tool: ERS created an Excel model which allows NHPS to project out enrollment, investments, and expenditures for the next 5 years. The model aligns with district priorities such as improving substitute compensation and increasing social-emotional support staff in schools. NHPS’ leadership team can now identify major resource reallocation opportunities in an ongoing basis to provide higher-need schools the resources they need. Under the leadership of the CFO, this district has begun to improve financial transparency and resolve inequity by allocating additional funds to the 10 neediest schools.
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