School budget: How to recapture time and money that’s already there
**The Edvocate is pleased to publish this guest post on school budget maximization as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**
A guest post By Paul Tarnoff
School districts around the country are suffering from ever-increasing pressures on their time, the ever-diminishing school budget, and the resulting demand “to do more with less.” One hidden, systemic waste of time, money, and effort within many schools is the purchasing process.
Because the majority of districts do not have a full-time purchasing staff, the steps required to research, requisition, and approve what to buy; to create and send purchase orders; and to reconcile what actually arrived and should be paid is spread out over almost the entire staff. And with teachers, administrators, and employees across a district each separately doing bits and pieces, school leaders are mostly likely not aware of the time the whole process takes. Add up all the steps I listed above, though, and you will discover that the average purchase consumes close to two hours of staff time.
Two hours may not sound like that much, but if you multiply it by the annual number of purchases your district makes and the hourly wages that you pay, your district is spending thousands of hours, which equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages on purchase orders. For example, for a district with 2,500 students, the purchasing process could consume over 12,000 hours per year, which translates to $480,000 a year in wages.
That’s a significant number, but it doesn’t account for the frustrations, lack of control, and complaints that staffers have about the purchasing process—because the truth is, educators never asked to do this work. It is distressing to see teachers and administrators distracted from their primary responsibility, and what attracted them to the education profession in the first place: teaching children.
So how do we find money that’s already in our school budget?
So it may come as a relief to hear that a group of educators and technical and business experts has created a solution to the frustration and distraction that purchasing creates for people who want to focus on education, not paperwork. The solution is called k-Purchase, and it reduces the time and cost of purchasing by more than 75%. In a district of 2,500 students, for example, 9,000 hours can be recaptured. This equates to more than $350,000 in wages. The district can then redirect these recaptured resources to educating their students.
Schools can use k-Purchase at no cost, and can set up the system with close to no distraction to your operations. It is a free gift of time and money to boost your school budget —plus accuracy, accountability, and the elimination of frustrations. Imagine immediately having more resources to invest and more time to focus on educating students.
Isn’t that why you work in education in the first place?
Paul Tarnoff is the CEO of k-Purchase.