Why Not Have One Principal Run Two Schools and Save Money?


Want to save tax money? How about letting one principal run two neighboring elementary schools?

One principal currently runs a high school with as many as 4,000 students.  Why should one principal run a tiny elementary school with a few hundred students?

This won’t be the magic bullet.  The savings will be nearer to $1 million rather than tens of millions.

The savings would also be slowly realized if my plan is followed. I would close positions by attrition, not filling new openings, rather than laying off existing principals.

The Sun-Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel have combined some of their manager functions…and they are 200 miles away!

The Tribune Company is flattening supervision, wisely doing away with many needless layers of administration. I know about the Tribune Company because I worked there, but it is perhaps not the best example.

There are hundreds, no thousands, of other examples.  Cisco, IBM, GM, utilities, oil companies, movie companies and even casinos.  The list goes on and on.

Why can’t the school system, when faced with a fiscal fiasco, propose something dynamic?

And can somebody tell me why we need high-paid area superintendents and their staffs?

These are tough times.  The public demands some new answers.

The Broward Teachers Union has some other ideas about saving money.  Some of good, some are questionable.

See the e-mail below:


From:          communications@btuonline.com
BTU Communications <communications@btuonline.com>
Subject:        Important Broward Schools Termination, Layoffs and Furlough Information
Attachments:            Attach0.html            10K

May 23, 2011

[ This message was sent to all BTU members. PLEASE forward this message to colleagues, family and community members, students’ parents and anyone else possible. Do you have a Facebook and Twitter account? Please share this info with all online friends. Thank you. ]

All BTU members, parents and their students are urged to attend! If you have already decided to attend and signed the protest sign up sheet, PLEASE keep your commitment and attend the protest as promised. If you have NOT decided yet, please continue reading and make the decision to join community and union members at this important protest. See your worksite’s union steward!

FIGHT FOR OUR FUTURE PROTEST: 5 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 24 (RAIN or SHINE) across from the Broward County Courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  Please bring signs and wear either your union or school shirts to the protest. All participants are asked to sign in at the protest staging area, which is in the parking lot immediately south of the K.C. Wright Building.

FREE “I Make a Difference!” t-shirt for first 500 people to arrive.

FREE imprinted event souvenir noisemaker.

FREE and discounted parking.

Log on to www.BTUonline.com <http://www.btuonline.com/>  to see the protest video and for more information including parking details. All participants are asked to sign in at the protest staging area, which is in the parking lot immediately south of the K.C. Wright Building.


Broward Superintendent Jim Notter decided to terminate 1,400 first and second year teachers with MORE layoffs still to come.

How many teachers are being laid off in Miami-Dade schools? NONE!

Superintendent Notter is INSISTING all teachers should take at least two unpaid furlough days.

With the termination of so many teachers, Broward schools’ unemployment insurance premiums has jumped from $250,000 per quarter to $8 million per year – far more than what can be saved by furloughs.


Unlike years past, the district and union formed a join finance committee this year with both district and union representatives studying and verifying the commonsense budget cutting options below. Not including the needless $7 million increase in the district’s unemployment insurance premiums, the commonsense budget cutting answers below amount to far more than what can be saved by teacher terminations and layoffs as well as furloughs:

$15 MILLION: Use all remaining federal funding that union members lobbied Congress for last summer to prevent the elimination and layoffs of instructional staff who were responsible for getting the money and who work most directly with our children.

$11 MILLION: Currently, the district has three area offices that are suppose to serve three different regions in the county and be accessible to staff, parents and other community members. Employees recommend eliminating one of the two area offices that are located in the exact same place out by the Sawgrass Mall making neither of them centrally located to the Broward County residents they are suppose serve.

$11 MILLION: Presently, principals are allowed to budget millions of tax dollars at their schools and one of the results has been hugely disparate numbers of assistant principals assigned to various schools throughout the county. Employees recommend establishing fair assistant principal to student ratios so all schools, employees, parents and children have equal access to administrators.

$10 MILLION: District officials spend millions of dollars to print and mail parent and community member feedback surveys that based on actual survey returns most people throw in the garbage as junk mail. Employees recommend using more efficient, modern and technologically advanced methods of providing community members with the opportunity to provide feedback and input, without wasting millions of tax dollars on wasteful printing.

$2.6 MILLION: Staff recommend adding just 10 minutes to each instructional day within the existing start and stop times of the school day, which would benefit students by providing additional instructional time and allow the district to close down for the week of the Thanksgiving Holiday and other holiday weekends, which would allow families to travel, if they choose and can afford to do so, and spend more time together during the holidays. Another option that would provide even more savings would be to increase the instructional day even further and lengthen the summer holiday, by closing the district completely down in August and June when district utility and operational costs are at their highest due to the summer heat. This has already proven to result in savings as district administrators work a four day week during the summer and the entire district closes down on Fridays giving the officials a three day weekend.

$1.5 MILLION: Union members have repeatedly offered to negotiate the temporary suspension of funding set aside for teachers to attend conferences and workshops.

$1.5 MILLION: Instead of terminating and laying off newly hired staff, stop the practice of rehiring retired employees by replacing vacancies through internal promotions and transfers. All teachers in years 6, 7 and 8 of the DROP program were let go by Superintendent Notter, but Superintendent he continues do everything he can to hold on to many of his retired friends who not only completed all eight years of the DROP program but were rehired afterwards and continue working for the district at top salaries.

$800,000: While the extended calendars of virtually all instructional staff who work with students has been eliminated as a cost savings, all assistant principals continue to work throughout the summer months when schools are empty and classrooms have no students in them. Employees suggest temporarily reducing the summer calendars of most – not all – assistant principals — the same as instructional staff until the district’s budget challenges pass.

$800,000: On a temporary basis, employees have suggested providing new employees with insurance benefits only after they have successfully completed their probationary period.

$750,000: Union members continue to press district officials to negotiate the temporary suspension of non-emergency release time.

$500,000: All schools should use substitute teachers through the district’s “sub” pool instead of hiring full time in-house substitutes.

FIGHT FOR OUR FUTURE PROTEST: 5 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 24 (RAIN or SHINE) across from the Broward County Courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  Please bring signs and wear either your union or school shirts to the protest. All participants are asked to sign in at the protest staging area, which is in the parking lot immediately south of the K.C. Wright Building.

21 Responses to “Why Not Have One Principal Run Two Schools and Save Money?”

  1. Floridan says:

    The Sun-Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel have combined some of their manager functions…and they are 200 miles away!

    And the Sun-Sentinel is now the worse for it — every day it seems we get more Orlando news.

    The idea of combining (getting rid of) principals is false economy, which even you admit would have almost no impact on the School Board’s financial problems.

    The truth is that Florida’s public schools are in trouble because they are underfunded. Among all 50 states, Florida ranks 41st in state funding for public elementary and secondary schools. We’re behind Mississippi, West Virginia and South Carolina!

    This is no coincidence . . . our right-wing state legislators have no interest in improving public education. Just the opposite.

  2. Resident says:

    Sorry, but I thought that a few years ago I read we were 50th out of 50 states in funding schools.

    Finally we are #1 is something, being the worse.

  3. The Next Superintendent says:

    The next Broward superintendent should be a manager that understands how to run large organizations cost effectively while achieving objectives. Their deputy should be an education expert. At almost every level in the system there is need for right sizing. Some areas that are important are not properly supported and others not important are overfunded. This comes from years of corrupt and inept oversight. The system is best placed in receivership. It needs to be placed into the hands of a campable administrator who will bring in a new and capable team. Until that happens we do not know the extent if any that additional funds will be needed.

  4. one more thing says:

    stop the practice of rehiring retired employees

    This is a pet peeve of mine. My daughter graduated and then could not get a teaching job — after hearing her whole college career the system needed teachers. New teachers cost the system less all around — from salary to bringing down the average age of the group for health insurance — and they have new ideas and are still excited about teaching. This should stop!

  5. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    Bass ackwards the Broward School System hires 2 Principals for 1 school. There is entirely too much unnedessary bussing as well….and way too many chiefs…

  6. Kevin says:


    How about this: get rid of all permanent principals and (1) hire one more teacher for every school, and (2) let the teachers rotate the job during a reasonable interval.

    Then expand the process upward.

    This would work for universities, too.


  7. The Next Superintendent says:

    How about the fact that they just finished building a bunch of new schools but didn’t have the smarts to see like everyone else did that we would not have the requisite number of kids to fill those schools. Multi-millions of dollars were wasted and soon you will hear them announce that they are closing schools. They have to close a number of them because we have too many schools now. It is an outrage and meanwhile our teachers are paid next to nothing being asked to take salary cuts, job losses and furloughs. They have no idea what they are doing.

  8. TamaracTalk says:

    “The Sun-Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel have combined some of their manager functions…and they are 200 miles away!”

    Not a good comparison. Sentinel lacks for good local stories. If it weren’t for BSO providing them with pre-written crime updates, there would be even less news. Tired of reading the “Florida Sentinel”

  9. Broward CleanSweep says:

    The Principals Union, the School Board and the BTU honchos are on the same team. Why do you think principals make north of $100,000. Why do schools have multiple asst principals?

  10. Local Units NOT the Answer says:

    The answer is not likely APs in the schools. Maybe can combine some APs, but not where the real $$ is. Area office. Focus there. Focus on the waste and layers upon layers. Decentralize to the schools. Look at bus system too, routes duplicated and half full busses.

    Real $$ saved outside the schools. Dont touch the classrooms.

  11. Kevin says:


    My theory about deans, chairs of departments, principals, etc., is that anyone who wants that sort of job (1) comes up through the ranks of teachers, and (2) must be some sort of sociopath. I am sure you must have had the same sort of experience with editors.

    So, I have always been of the opinion that any professional in these fields who VOLUNTEERS for such a job should be automatically EXCLUDED from taking it, and that we should draft editors, principals, and deans, or even take the ones who ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to take those jobs…. could not be any worse!!!



    My wife Fran, a retiree from the Broward School system, could give you an earful about this subject.

    I don’t know about being a sociopath, but otherwise I agree with you.

  12. ExCompassionate Conservative says:

    I would abhor having one pricipal for two schools as this would now take away a lot form parents and staff who need to get something solved or looked into. My wife was always abel to find the principal of the school our kids were in becuase she was in the same damn school and not somewhere else. Save money elsewhere by looking at the next layers of people who are NOT inside a school.

    The SUn Sentinel is a joke to read as half the damn paper is just rewrites from the Orlando paper. Local coverage is a joke and nothing like what I recall when I first moved down here 20 or so years ago. I can save money by cancelling my subscription and just reading the saem stuff online for free. Take away the ads and fluff in the Sun Sentinel and you end up with about one or two web pages of news with half of that just being their reposts of what shows up on an MSN or Comcast home page throughout the day.

    Buddy was something I looked forward to read and the paper is not the same without him for local politics.

    Getting back to schools, I take the business approach. Every company I have ever worked for when they started their descent into bankruptcy protected their non visable waste , cronies and flunkies while gutting the staff and anything which served the paying public. Run better and leaner, but do not lower what the standard is for kids. Get rid of what I and my kids do not see, touch, feel, breathe or learn from. IN other words. Get rid of the desk jockey and layers of fat instead of the people who teach or clean the schools or drive busses or work directly in a school first.


    Thank you so much for your kind words.

  13. Rupert says:

    Next up we’ll try having one cop drive 2 patrol cars.

  14. S only says:

    Sorry Buddy, you are wrong, wrong, wrong on this one. One principal for 2 schools? no, no, no.

    But there is plenty to cut OUTSIDE of the schools. Cut at least half-yes I said half- of the “district people”. Then you’d have to cut their support staff–secretaries, etc. Send them to the schools for extra instructional assistance. Cut Transportation. Let the parents transport. Or, in the case of schools of choice–let parents pay for transportation. Cut Assistant Principals to about 1 weeks more than teacher’s calendar. Cut Principal’s calendars to about 2 weeks more than teacher’s calendar. STOP renting space in expensive buildings (Sawgrass) and use the extra space in under-enrolled schools. Use some of the race to the top $ for real change and not for just more paper shuffling bureaucracy. Use already written Nationally normed standardized tests so Florida students’ progress can be compared with students nationwide. This would cut a lot of people at Fl.DOE (dept of edu) which could free up more $ for the local districts.

  15. Sunrise Working Mom says:

    S –

    You are so on the money on this one! All of your suggestions make total sense. Now, can you please stand up in front of the mostly incapable School Board and present your ideas? If they would listen to someone like you, they might be on the right path to turn this disaster around!

  16. Broward Teacher says:

    Schools all across the nation share principals especially at the elementary level. The changes that need to happend in Broward schools are not going to happen until Notter and his cronies are gone.

  17. I'm Just Beachy says:

    As I know you know Buddy, there are and have been for many years, some exceptionally talented and dedicated school leaders at various schools who gave their all and then some, bringing failing students in filthy schools to achieving outstanding progress and positive results especially revealed in raising test scores but also in self esteem levels and newly realized pride in their school and communities. Move themas full timers to the schools where failure thrives. In schools where students show consistent positive growth, share the principals among two schools.

  18. Area Office is the Key says:

    Outsource area office? Save the teachers, put private incentives in there to eliminate the layers and layers of assistants to assistants?

    Area offices have botched bus routes too — wasted dollars with overlapping half empty busses.

    Let principals decide what they can consolidate or combine — area offices tell them what they can or cant do. crazy. Principals are the most accountable to the parents because that is who parents go to with complaints first.

    Combining principals a bad idea. better to let principals combine assistant principals to eliminate positions. Need specific accountability in the single principal

  19. BrowardVoter says:


    For what it is worth, many of the Charter School principals in Broward County currently are running more than one school with successful results. Readers can see this for themselves at: http://www.browardschools.com/schools/charter_list.htm

  20. pbm says:

    I can’t agree more with this concept. In fact, there are quite a few schools that have the elementary and middle school on the same block. These should be the campuses targeted first with this idea. There’s absolutely no reason why it can’t be done. None. That would save an average of apx. $116,000 for each principal cut. Do that a few dozen times and we’ll have a really nice sum of money saved. Same with the “area directors”. What in the world is that anyway? Then continue on with the Crystal Palace and for heaven’s sakes, consolidate departments there as well.
    Let’s hope there’s a chance of all this taking place at a near post-Notter era.

  21. Broward Teacher says:

    Why are there Guidance Counselors in Elementary Schools? Why are there so many Reading, Math, and Curriculum Coaches who don’t work with the students???