2009: Fiscal Challenges will be MetPosted by Richard G. Bozza, Ed.D on 12/27/2008 9:00:00 AM
The New Year brings significant challenges for our state’s Chief Education Officers in serving their communities. This year’s state budget deficit has been projected to reach $1.2 billion by June 30, 2009. The next budget year provides an even greater challenge, as the revenue shortfall will likely reach $5 billion. The economic downturn and resultant plunge in state revenue collection will cause all levels of government to assess spending practices and to re-prioritize the services provided to New Jersey residents. Reduction in many services and elimination of others seems the likely outcome, along with probable personnel reductions or staff furloughs. This grim reality will cause the Governor and state legislators to scrutinize all areas of the state budget, including the decision to fund the new preschool education initiative and provide full support for the School Funding Reform Act of 2008, the new state funding formula for schools.
School superintendents, the Chief Education Officers of their districts, operate one of the largest organizations in their respective communities 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. As Chief Education Officers, they are ultimately responsible for moving education forward through instructional leadership - providing the highest quality education; establishing and preserving the financial stability and integrity of the district; ensuring the health and safety of children; maintaining the morale and retention of teachers and staff, and providing the overall oversight of facilities in their respective school district. Chief Education Officers work cooperatively with their colleagues and municipal counterparts to share services and resources. Their experience and fiscal leadership will be ever more critical in meeting the challenges to be faced during the remainder of this school year and the next. There will not be uncomplicated or easy solutions to these extraordinary difficulties. One thing is certain, however. Chief Education Officers and their support staff will once again demonstrate determination and resourcefulness in their work, just as they have during the many years that promised resources have not materialized. These leaders will maintain the vision for the education process in their respective districts and continue to realize improvement in student outcomes. Despite differences in district size, demographics, and other factors, Chief Education Officers have one common goal – to move education forward for the betterment of New Jersey’s children. We count on them to do so during the difficult times ahead and we must give them our support.
Superintendents as Chief Education OfficersPosted by Richard Bozza on 12/16/2008 12:00:00 PMRecent focus groups conducted by the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA) revealed some interesting findings. One of the more significant conclusions was that the general public does not seem to know the scope of a superintendent’s responsibilities.
If you couple that fact with the recent misconceptions created by some media accounts, superintendents are being shown in an improper light. With that in mind, I think it is important to point out some attributes of a superintendent:
· Superintendents are Chief Education Officers running one of the biggest organizations in town 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
· Chief Education Officers have earned advanced degrees – in many cases a doctorate – from accredited institutions and take on-going courses for additional expertise.
· A Chief Education Officer is ultimately responsible for moving education forward through instructional leadership.
· Instructional leadership is the ability to provide the highest quality education; establish and preserve the financial stability and integrity of the district; ensure the health and safety of children; maintain the morale and retention of teachers and staff, and have the overall oversight of facilities in a school district.
· A Chief Education Officer effectively communicates to parents; faculty and staff; business leaders, and the community at large.
· The average salary of New Jersey Chief Education Officers is considerably less than that of many business leaders, private school head masters, and heads of major universities and colleges in New Jersey.
With all these attributes, Chief Education Officers are setting the tone for the education process in their respective districts. Despite the variety of responsibilities due to districts’ size, demographics, and other factors, Chief Education Officers have one common goal – to move education forward for the betterment of New Jersey’s children.
Federal Government Needs to Meet its ObligationPosted by Richard G. Bozza, Ed.D on 12/16/2008 9:00:00 AMFederal Government Needs to Meet its Obligation to New Jersey School ChildrenThe NJASA concurs with some aspects of New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s testimony presented on Thursday, December 11 before the House Appropriations Committee on the impact of the recession on state and local communities.
In his remarks, the Governor focused on two significant issues facing the educational communities – No Child Left Behind and Special Education. The Governor called upon the federal government to rise to the occasion “to fully funding its obligations for programs like No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and IDEA. Since the inception of NCLB, the federal government has insufficiently funded the program by $1.2 billion in New Jersey.”
The infusion of this additional money into the New Jersey operating budget would provide much-needed relief to education aid and benefit both the students and taxpayers of our State.
The Governor’s reference to special education noted, “ the federal government funds a woefully inadequate 17 percent of [New Jersey’s] total per-pupil costs, when it’s committed to covering 40 percent.“
NJASA urges the federal government to revisit its educational mandates in light of the current economic conditions and support Governor Corzine’s top two priorities of education and public safety with some financial relief.
NJASA and its approximately 1,000 members, which include superintendents and school administrators, advocate for all New Jersey’s children, and work to move education forward by ensuring the highest quality of instruction for all students.