Our lead story in this week’s Express highlights the tough decisions local education officials face in light of significant budget cuts at the state and federal levels.


To be clear, when it comes to budget cuts, I’ve never advocated cuts to education. Budget cuts are due in part to economic slowdown and slashing funding to education — the engine that drives economic growth — can only make the situation worse.


However, that logic falls on deaf ears at the state and national levels. After taking a beating a year ago — and for that matter being underfunded from the get-go — educational institutions are forced to dig deeper into their pockets to find more ways to save money.

Our lead story in this week’s Express highlights the tough decisions local education officials face in light of significant budget cuts at the state and federal levels.


To be clear, when it comes to budget cuts, I’ve never advocated cuts to education. Budget cuts are due in part to economic slowdown and slashing funding to education — the engine that drives economic growth — can only make the situation worse.


However, that logic falls on deaf ears at the state and national levels. After taking a beating a year ago — and for that matter being underfunded from the get-go — educational institutions are forced to dig deeper into their pockets to find more ways to save money.


The silver lining in this process goes to my biggest criticism of public education. So much of the talk about education reform erroneously centers on teachers. While I agree that teachers need to be held to high standards and should not be protected by powerful unions, teachers are not the problem when it comes to education funding. No, it’s administration, transportation, facilities maintenance and other overhead costs.


With few exceptions, administrators are the highest paid officials at public educational institutions. Don’t get me wrong, administrators serve a necessary function in directing overall policies and ensuring teachers receive appropriate training and evaluations. However, the educational system in America is top-heavy. The less we spend on administration, the more we can direct to classrooms. The same holds true for transportation and facilities maintenance.


Small school districts simply don’t enjoy the efficiencies that occur in larger districts. Yet communities often reject full mergers, favoring local autonomy to fiscal efficiancy.


Budget cuts this year are so arduous that local school administrators are having long overdue talks with neighboring schools about how to further reduce overhead costs. Part-time superintendendents, shared business offices and collaborative transportation departments — to name just a few — are the best solutions short of a full mergers. It’s encouraging to see administrators recognize the overhead costs that can be reduced in favor of keeping limited resources flowing to classrooms.