In the last post, 'Thinking' put forward some suggestions for cost cutting in day schools and yeshivot. I figures I would open up the board to brainstorming now that we are back to talking about tuition. Perhaps those with a voice in their local schools can pass along suggestions that come this way and float them in their own community.
From 'Thinking' [my comments in orange]:
As someone who works in Change Management in the corporate world it never ceases to amaze me how the Yeshivos and other NfP's are so blind to what is going on and always seem to be behind the 8 ball. They need to see what the corporate world is doing and borrow the best practices. To borrow from what the corporate world is currently doing.1.Identify the percentage of annual budget that will be decreased for 2009. It will need to be big, 25-35%. This will be accomplished by cutting office staff, teaching staff, nice to haves and other non-essentials (conferences, extra curricular activities etc). The cuts will have to mirror the expected losses incurred by lower tuition collections and fund raising.2. Stop passing on non-essential costs to parents. Instead of a petting zoo @ $12 a head, next year might be the year to forgo the petting zoo for a dvd about animals.3.In general, cutting back on parent requests for money for extras. The focus should be on tuition and covering the budget before any extras at all.4. Schools/NfP's pooling resources. This has been suggested before. Without going into this at length, the reason this is not done more often is because of the fear of one school defaulting on their portion of the costs and the liability falling on the other schools. Schools and not for profits need to reconsider this option and pool non-risky resources and potentially, staff. In addition, offices, phone lines and others could be shared. [Brainstorm question: what is the first area that could be consolidated with little risk? If I was looking at consolidating staff, I would look at
combining students from two or three schools for PE or art class, or any other
once a week offering.]5. Cutting office expenditures. This needs to be a directive, "Cut 25%!".6. Engaging all of the staff to look for creative ways to save money. Why should this responsibility just rest on the administration and not the rest of the staff? [I mentioned before that public schools give yearly allotments for allowable photocopies. I am always amazed by how many projects come home with students in frum schools. I imagine most former public schoolers who read this blog will agree with me. Many of those projects are laminated and include printed photographs. I know many of these projects are meaningful to the parents and students, but there is certainly room to cut. If I was running a school, I would put all staff on a budget immediately].7. Now is the time to tell the staff that there will be no raises next year. Don't wait until the annual raise conversation time for that conversation to happen. Let people make the long term decisions they need to make now.If schools and NfP's get focused on 2009 now, they have a shot at making it. If not, some will definitely fail. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.