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Strategic Resource Alignment

Miles, K. H., & Feinberg, R. (2014). California local control funding formula: Seizing the moment for transformation. (Draft). Watertown, MA: Education Resource Strategies. Available for members at this link.

This paper discusses opportunities for transformation afforded to California school districts through the increase in funding and flexibility over resource use provided by the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). When districts experience an influx of funds following a period of budget cuts, they are often tempted to use the additional funds to “undo” changes in spending necessitated by the cuts. However, the authors argue that California districts should rethink traditional ways of organizing people, time, and money. Some high-leverage opportunities for change include restructuring teacher compensation and job structure, rethinking rigid class sizes, and developing school leadership teams. Finally, the authors consider ways in which districts can strategically pass flexibility in resource allocation on to school sites.

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2012). Aligning resources with priorities: Focusing on what matters most (pp. 1-6). Ontario, Canada: Author. Available at

This publication from the Ontario Ministry of Education characterizes the ability to align resources with improvement plans as a core educational leadership capacity. This six-page excerpt draws on research about resource allocation to reject the myth that a simple influx of money will solve education problems, suggesting instead that school budgeting must connect directly with goals for teaching and learning. Moreover, the piece suggests that conversations about resources should not focus simply on dollars, but should include time, people, and concrete and abstract resources alike, all of which must align in the service of student learning. The excerpt concludes by identifying four characteristics of effective resource alignment, arguing that such practice is 1) driven by strong leadership, 2) strategic and supportive of efficient operations, 3) integrated with efforts to improve student achievement, and 4) purposeful by supporting mutual reinforcement of various improvement strategies.

Roza, M. (2008). Allocation anatomy: How district policies that deploy resources can support (or undermine) district reform strategies. Seattle, WA: Center on Reinventing Education. Available at

This study provides a framework for understanding how micro-budgeting decisions—those policies and behaviors that take place beneath the surface of official district budgets—often dictate the amount and type of resources that actually reach schools and students. The author’s framework focuses on five components of district budgeting processes: 1) what gets allocated, 2) reporting authority, 3) practices that dictate resource flow, 4) restrictions on use of funds, and 5) the dollar amount of the allocation. She uses this framework to analyze resource allocation in two urban districts and then illustrates how combinations of practices with respect to these components will support—or unintentionally inhibit—intended reform approaches and goals.