BCSS earns high marks

Published 10:40 am Friday, June 3, 2016

An educational consulting company has given the Butler County School System high marks.

Lean Frog, a company that helps school systems improve efficiency, conducted a free assessment of the system’s non-instructional departments, which included facilities, transportation, information technology and nutrition.

“In an effort to get hired and fix efficiency problems they come in and do a free assessment for generally three non-instructional areas,” Butler County Schools Superintendent Amy Bryan said. “If they find anything that needs addressing, they will contract with the schools to help fix the problems.”

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Bryan said that since the contracts are generally based on the size of the school system, she wasn’t “too afraid to launch into the assessment.”

What the consultants found was a school system that was operating efficiently given its funding and resources.

“They told us, ‘You don’t need to hire us. You’re doing well,’” Bryan said. “I thought that was a big deal. They didn’t really identify any problems.”

Lean Frog did suggest that the school system put in place key performance indicators to track non-instructional department performance and provide data to allow for continuous improvement.

Bryan agreed that more attention should be given to non-instructional areas to help the school system operate at its best.

“Yes, we assess children and we evaluate teachers, “ she said. “We look at what we’re doing with instruction, but are we spending too much on gas? Do we have too many bus routes or are we throwing away too much food? These are areas that we need to be focusing on as well.”

The consultants also suggested that the school system evaluate its current facilities program, program investment levels and existing and future facility needs in order to ensure the sustainability of the current learning environment.

In January, the school system announced it would use $3.1 million to replace classrooms on the campuses of McKenzie School and W.O. Parmer Elementary School.

The refinancing of a 2007 bond issue generated the funds, which must be used for capital improvements within a three-year period.

Construction is expected to begin in August and be finished by June of 2017. The classrooms will be put into service in August of 2017.