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Virginia Department of Planning and Budget

The Virginia School Efficiency Review Program


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Written Question and Response to RFP # SER-2015-01
 

What it is.

Total expenditures for the operations of public elementary and secondary schools includes over $13 billion in state, federal and local money.

The goal of the school efficiency review program is to ensure that non-instructional functions are running efficiently so that as much of this funding as possible goes directly into the classroom. The program identifies savings that can be gained in the school division through best practices in divisional administration, human resources, finance, purchasing, educational service delivery costs, special education, facilities, transportation, technology, management, and food service.

Business practices in the school divisions that appear to be more efficient than those found elsewhere are documented and shared in the review and with other school divisions across the state.

The approach of the school review program is modeled after Texas' protocols administered by that state's Comptroller. Arizona and Oklahoma are also modeling on these procedures, and most recently Minnesota has introduced legislation to begin similar reviews using Virginia's approach.

The Virginia School Efficiency Review Program Protocol contains eights chapters: divisional administration, educational service delivery, human resources, facilities use and management, financial management, transportation, technology management, and food services. The protocol outlines data needs, activities, and procedures to follow when conducting a school efficiency review.



What we've done.

Virginia first developed the concept for our review program in 2003. Three pilot reviews were completed by Department of Planning and Budget staff in 2004. The program was codified in the Code of Virginia in 2005.

Since 2005, 36 additional reviews have been completed using private sector consultants with oversight and review provided by the Department of Planning and Budget. To date, school reviews have been completed in the following school divisions and recommended net savings of the reviews have been significant - almost $42 million total annually and over $1.1 million annually per review -- as shown in the following table.

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Study# School Division Report Released Implementation % Annual Savings
1 New Kent 1/6/2004 86.96% $238,768
2 Roanoke County 4/22/2004 81.25% $294,816
3 Richmond City 8/23/2004 85.19% $2,139,292
4 Stafford 1/11/2005 96.77% $865,298
5 Portsmouth 4/4/2005 90.00% $2,204,954
6 Surry 4/12/2005 96.67% $327,218
7 Spotsylvania 4/28/2005 98.55% $1,392,764
8 Williamsburg 6/23/2005 88.89% -$284,590
9 Campbell 10/28/2005 91.03% $350,199
10 Smyth 3/16/2006 95.40% $9,356
11 Lancaster 3/17/2006 94.44% -$4,152
12 Dinwiddie 3/23/2006 91.82% $1,582,806
13 Winchester 3/24/2006 90.91% $68,361
14 York 3/24/2006 92.68% $324,998
15 Isle of Wight 6/13/2006 93.68% -$432,491
16 Culpeper 6/12/2006 90.43% $352,154
17 Louisa 6/20/2006 90.67% $686,287
18 Bath 6/22/2006 80.52% $461,366
19 Clarke 8/21/2006 98.92% -$60,441
20 Petersburg 1/10/2007 98.90% $3,887,477
21 Alleghany 2/28/2007 78.00% $878,892
22 Covington 2/28/2007 87.50% $428,155
23 Montgomery 5/15/2007 87.06% $734,511
24 Roanoke City 5/21/2007 93.00% $1,842,945
25 Mecklenburg 6/12/2007 97.46% $1,029,206
26 Alexandria 6/20/2007 88.73% -$554,768
27 Prince William 6/21/2007 84.62% $244,443
28 Prince Edward 8/8/2007 96.61% $382,854
29 Rappahannock 2/22/2008 90.67% -$72,443
30 Franklin County 5/12/2008 81.48% -$63,866
31 Norfolk 5/21/2008 92.31% $2,555,680
32 Loudoun 8/12/2008 86.67% $447,678
33 Charlottesville 1/8/2009 90.32% $3,376,508
34 Hampton 5/20/2009 91.92% $8,570,476
35 Martinsville 2/11/2010 98.91% $801,676
36 Chesterfield 2/26/2010 92.21% $4,563,384
37 Hanover 6/14/2011 72.92% $535,796
38 Arlington 5/10/2012 82.14% $635,062
39 Fairfax 9/23/2013 100.00% $2,347,300
40 Fluvanna 5/14/2014 $767,585
41 Bedford 5/15/2014 $1,078,926
Average 91.07% $1,095,962
Total $44,934,442
Negative numbers indicate that the efficiency review contained net costs to implement all the suggested recommendations. These reviews include many savings opportunities as well. Since the purpose of the reviews is school efficiency, there are instances where recommendations suggest school divisions spend money in order to become more efficient and effective in delivering services.

What we've achieved.

Although the reports contain recommendations and not requirements, there are requirements for implementation of the review recommendations. The goal of these requirements is to ensure that reviews are used for improvement and do not 'sit on the shelf.'

If the school division does not initiate at least half of the recommendations or experience half of the budgetary savings offered in the review, the school division must provide a recovery local share of 25% of the costs of the school efficiency review into the general fund of the state treasury. Local school divisions are implementing the vast majority of the recommendations. The table above reflects the implementation percentage of past reviews and the total implementation percentage for the program. As of May 2012, the overall implementation rate of the program is 91%. Because the implementation rate of all school divisions is well over 50%, no school divisions have been required to pay this additional recovery cost.

What we've learned.

Some divisions may find that not all recommendations can be implemented for a variety of reasons. The reports are intended to generate options for the consideration of locally elected and divisional administration officials.

While the challenges facing school divisions as they attempt to fulfill their core mission are very similar, there are enough differences in funding, community issues, and history to support the assertion that there can be no "one size fits all" solution to these challenges.

This program is gaining national attention as a "best practice." Other states are now modeling programs on Virginia's approach.

Full text versions of all completed reviews are available on the Virginia Department of Education's website at

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/school_finance/efficiency_reviews/index.shtml.