Survey: school funding is top concern for most principals
- Fifty-two percent of principals considered adequate funding a top concern for them and another 28% cited it as a very important concern, according to a new survey of more than 1,000 K-12 principals across the country, Education Week reports.
- Conducted in January by MCH Strategic Data, the survey cites teacher morale as the next most important issue with 38% of principals reporting it as a top concern and another 35% ranking it as very important.
- In relation to technology, principals are now using a company or organization’s website as a primary source of information for buying decisions and 67% plant to purchase hardware in the coming year, 19% more than last year.
Even though most principals in surveyed were seeing improvement in the local economy and in the financial health of families within their district, school funding was still a top concern. The reason is not always less money, but more often the demand for more uses for the money schools already have. Unfunded state mandates, the demand for more technology, reduced local control of finances, and increases in students health and mental health needs are putting additional strains on school budgets. This strain is causing some principals to write strongly worded letters to state officials while others are quitting altogether in frustration.
School superintendents need to be aware of these additional stresses on principals. They can help by communicating with them regularly, soliciting their input, and reassuring principals that the school district leadership has a plan for addressing many of these key issues. Principals are also becoming more engaged than ever in the use of technology and in the decision-making process. The influx of new hardware, software and educational apps is offering a wide array of choices, but also puts pressure on principals who are handling an increasing number of these decisions. Central office staff, in the form of chief technology officers (CTO), should also be guiding technology decisions as they have better resources for researching these issues and getting the best prices on products. With all the sales pressure and hype in the educational marketplace, CTOs can also help principals distinguish between technology needs and wants and help them address the tech challenges they face. If school districts do not yet have someone in this role, it may be time to consider finding someone who can help handle these responsibilities.