This article originally appeared in PalmBeachPost.com.
Is the Palm Beach County School District spending its money in a way that meets its top one or two goals? Superintendent Robert Avossa has said since his arrival this summer that this is where real improvement will begin. Wednesday, he will ask the School Board to spend $520,000 to hire a Massachusetts-based non-profit to help find the answers.
The money would come savings from a hiring freeze on administrators that has been in place since the summer.
Education Resource Strategies has already begun work in the county using $30,000 ERS gets from national matching grants to survey principals and interview staff, said Chief Financial Officer Mike Burke.
Avossa is familiar with the organization’s work from his time as superintendent in Fulton County, Georgia and before that in Charlotte where Avossa was deputy superintendent.
The work in Fulton was paid for by the state, which hired ERS to work with five districts.
ERS notes on its website that it helped those five districts map changes, and that it worked “particularly closely with two districts – Marietta City and Fulton County – to support compensation redesign as well as school design.”
The work outlined in Wednesday’s agenda documents stretches over 10 months, during which the organization will help the district’s leadership “to understand the big issues facing the district” by first diagnosing what critical matters need to be addressed immediately. Then it will help map plans to make bigger, long-term improvements toward goals set by the board and staff.
The outside review covers everything from curriculum and teaching to leadership and how schools and the district spend their money.
“This is not just a budget analysis. They are going to look at how we spend our time and more,” Avossa said Monday. “They have a body of work they’ve gotten from work across the country. This insight will be a great value added.”
A review of what work would be done will be presented at Wednesday’s board meeting that begins at 5 p.m.