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School site decision making : a case study of the Edmonton experience Lam, Lan Yong 1988

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SCHOOL SITE DECISION MAKING : A CASE STUDY OF THE EDMONTON EXPERIENCE By -LAN YONG LAM B.A. (Honours), Nanyang University, Republic of Singapore, 1972 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES .(Department of Administrative, Adult and Higher Education) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September 1988 © Lan Yong Lam, 1988 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Administrative, Adult and Higher Education The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 D a t e 30 Sep 1988 DE-6G/81) ABSTRACT School-Site Decision-Making (SSDM) has been widely discussed i n Canada and the United States. The decision to implement SSDM represents a major departure from the t r a d i t i o n a l authority structure. It requires the concurrence of many key parties such as teachers, p r i n c i p a l s and school o f f i c i a l s . Proponents believe that SSDM can help to improve the q u a l i t y of schooling by giving more f l e x i b i l i t y i n curriculum content and deployment of i n s t r u c t i o n a l resources. It i s for these reasons that the autho r i t i e s i n Singapore have been exploring various innovations which can help to improve the school system. One of the most talked-about SSDM projects i s the one launched by the Edmonton Public School Board in 1976. It i s widely regarded as the "lighthouse" system of SSDM. This report describes the studies c a r r i e d out on two schools i n the Edmonton system. One was a K~9 community school, the other a senior high comprehensive school. The case studies examined what happens when a major innovation such as SSDM i s introduced - what the problems are, how they are solved, and to what extent the goals are achieved. Of the problems which the innovation i n i t i a l l y created, the most prominent was the lack of o r i e n t a t i o n and t r a i n i n g of teachers and p r i n c i p a l s . This resulted i n feelings of uncertainty and low commitment among teachers. They experienced increased stress mainly due to greater demands for p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n decision-making. P r i n c i p a l s , on the other hand, had to adapt to a much expanded r o l e . Many of the goals which were envisioned by the ori g i n a t o r s of SSDM were met. Although there were limited comparative data between Edmonton schools and non-SSDM schools, there was evidence of improvements i n student achievement on standardized measures at the d i s t r i c t l e v e l . Curiously, though, i n some subject areas, no increases were observed i n the past two years. The reduction of costs per student was not one of the objectives of th i s innovation. However, costs did increase over time from 1983. It i s d i f f i c u l t to ascertain whether these cost increases are due to the p a r t i c u l a r needs of a large urban school system, with, for example, many non-English speaking newcomers, or to SSDM i t s e l f . However, there has been a 15% increase i n teacher's salary over the l a s t f i v e years. With respect to parental s a t i s f a c t i o n l e v e l s , there have been s i g n i f i c a n t increases since 1979 when the f i r s t surveys were conducted. In general, student l e v e l s of s a t i s f a c t i o n are lower for iv junior high school students than for elementary and senior high students. For reason of c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y , student attitude survey data on the schools studied could not be released for th i s study. Since the i n i t i a t i o n of SSDM, student s a t i s f a c t i o n levels have varied to some extent. Overall they are at a high l e v e l . To what extent t h i s i s due to SSDM i s not clear since there are no data comparing Edmonton lev e l s with le v e l s i n non-SSDM systems. F i n a l l y , though teachers did express d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the additi o n a l work created by SSDM, t h e i r s a t i s f a c t i o n l e v e l s were very high. The study revealed that t h e i r s a t i s f a c t i o n came from working with c h i l d r e n , not from the increased opportunity to pa r t i c i p a t e i n decision-making. P r i n c i p a l s in Edmonton do express higher s a t i s f a c t i o n l e v e l s than t h e i r counterparts elsewhere i n Alberta. This i s despite t h i s study's finding that Edmonton p r i n c i p a l s assume greatly expanded r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s and suffe r higher work-related st r e s s . These case studies indicate that SSDM has yielded some important improvements in school management. School o f f i c i a l s seeking new ideas are urged to examine the lessons from Edmonton's experience and achievements. TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT i i CHAPTER ONE : SCHOOL-SITE DECISION-MAKING THE PURPOSE AND INTEREST OF THE STUDY 1 Outline of the Study 2 Education System in Singapore 3 Education System in Edmonton 5 CHAPTER TWO : SCHOOL-SITE DECISION-MAKING : PAST LITERATURE AND PRESENT STUDY 11 Definit ion, Scope and Nomenclature of SSDM 11 The Rationale and Underlying Philosophy of SSDM 14 Research Project 22 Delimitation and Limitations .27 CHAPTER THREE : THE STRATHEARN COMMUNITY SCHOOL 28 Change to Community School 29 Review of Community School 30 General Description of Strathearn 32 School-Site Decision-Making (SSDM) Project : .35 I n i t i a l Stage V I Page Problems Encountered During I n i t i a l Stage 38 Intermediate Development 44 Problems Encountered by the Present P r i n c i p a l 46 Since the Assumption of Duty Present S i tua t ion 48 CHAPTER FOUR : THE "LIGHTHOUSE" COMPOSITE HIGH SCHOOL 55 "Lighthouse" Community 56 School Organizat ion 57 General Descr ipt ion of "Lighthouse" 59 School -Si te Decision-Making (SSDM) Project : 64 I n i t i a l Stage Present S i tua t ion , 70 Major Outcomes of SSDM i n ."Lighthouse" 75 CHAPTER FIVE : SCHOOL-SITE DECISION-MAKING : A DISCUSSION 80 Leadership Challenge and Development 82 (a) Profess ional Expectations 83 (b) Adminis trat ive Expectations 84 (c) Leadership Challenge and Development 84 v i i Page Expected Outcomes in Achievement, Satisfaction and Efficiency 95 (a) Student Achievement 97 (b) Student Retention Level 101 (c) Curriculum F l e x i b i l i t y and Innovation 103 (d) Satisfaction Levels Among Teachers and Principals 105 (e) Satisfaction Levels Among Students and Parents 112 (f) Administrative Efficiency 117 Costs and Benefits : An Analysis 121 (a) Benefits (Gains) of SSDM 121 (b) Costs (Losses) of SSDM 123 (c) The Balance of Costs and Benefits 125 CHAPTER SIX : SSDM AS AN INNOVATION : SOME OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 127 Implementation Problems 127 9 Involvement of Teachers in Decision-Making Process 128 Principals' Role and Leadership Styles 129 Levels of Satisfaction 129 Administrative Efficiency 130 Student Achievement , 1 3 0 v i i i Page Recommendations (a) (b) For Persons/Systems Interested in SSDM - Some Considerations For Persons/Systems Interested in SSDM - Some Specific Recommendations (c) For Future Research Concluding Remark 131 131 134 137 139 BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDIX I Procedures Employed for Budget" Preparation (Strathearn) 142 151 APPENDIX II Comparison of EPSD Elementary School Principals' and Other Principals' Levels of Satisfaction with Job Facets 153 APPENDIX III Comparison of EPSD Junior High School Principals' and Other Principals' Levels of Satisfaction with Job Facets 157 APPENDIX IV Edmonton Public Schools Attitude Surveys - K-6 Students 161 APPENDIX V : Edmonton Public Schools Attitude Surveys - 7-9 Students 166 APPENDIX VI Edmonton Public Schools Attitude Surveys - 10-12 Students 173 APPENDIX VII Edmonton- Public Schools Attitude Surveys - K-12 Students 181 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ix There are many persons to whom acknowledgements are due : these include friends, fellow students and professors who cannot a l l be named individually. The greatest debt of gratitude is owed to my advisor Dr Jamie Wallin who has broadened immensely my view of school-site decision-making in education. His patience, understanding, guidance and insight contributed immeasurably to the f inal product of this thesis. I am also indebted to the Edmonton Public School Board of f ic ia l s - and.the principals and teachers of the schools I v i s i t ed . They gave their time and invaluable assistance in my study and went out of their way to make me feel welcome during my v i s i t s . I" am indeed grateful to the Vocational & Industrial Training Board for awarding me a staff fellowship to pursue my M.A. Degree. •This has provided me the opportunity to carry out this in-depth case study. On a personal note, I owe a special thank to my good friends G.M. Burke and P.N. Young for offering me unfailing support and assistance throughout the entire process. CHAPTER ONE t SCHOOL-SITE DECISION-MAKING: THE PURPOSE AND INTEREST OF THE STUDY The question of school-site decision-making (SSDM) is of interest to many people and to many school systems. In countries such as Austral ia, Canada, and also in some parts of the United States, the devolution of budgeting and management power to schools and the decentralization of educational administration are being pursued with vigor. As the researcher, I have a particular interest in SSDM because of my responsibil ity in the Singapore school system. Over the past ten years, a most interesting development has occurred in the Edmonton public school d i s t r i c t where there has been steady evolution to a highly decentralized approach to the allocation of resources, including placing major decision-making responsibil i ty on the principal and teachers of each school. The Edmonton experience may hold ideas which are useful to Singapore educators in their search for a new model. It is in this context that I decided to carry out an in-depth case study of two schools in Edmonton. 2 Outline of the Study This Chapter brief ly summarizes the educational systems in Singapore and Edmonton. Chapter Two surveys the trends in SSDM in other countries, and gives a review of l i terature on a range of reports and studies dealing with participative and school-site decision-making. It also establishes the need for a study of the nature, objectives, adoption, operation and perceived outcomes of SSDM in Edmonton schools. The research questions are stated and the method is defined. The delimitations and limitations of the study are noted. In Chapters Three and Four, there is a description of how the innovations were implemented in two schools - an elementary/junior high school and a senior high school. In Chapter Five, the findings of the study are discussed in relation to the research questions and to the practices reported in the review of l i terature . Some observations of the study are contained in Chapter Six along with suggestions for school systems which are interested in SSDM innovations and further research. 3 Education System in Singapore At the present time, Singapore o f f i c ia l s are exploring various alternative strategies for bringing about change in the education system. In Singapore, the aim of the education system is to educate each child to the maximum of his or her potential through the development of the "whole person". Recently there have been suggestions that educators need to approach their task more creatively. A l l this grows out of a national effort to ensure economic progress (Towards Excellence in Schools : A report to the Minister for Education, Republic of Singapore, 1987). The Singapore system is highly centralized. It has come about as a result of history. The main intention was to ensure that a l l schools maintained "proper" standards and contributed ultimately to the general well-being of the country. The end result was that most schools tended to develop into duplicate copies of previous models. The principals and staff became activated on instructions from the central authority. There was limited f l e x i b i l i t y and freedom, both real and' perceived, for educators to take steps on their own, capable though they were of this . It was hard to t e l l one school from another. This state of affairs was l ike ly to prevail as long as schools were r ig id ly bound to a centralized system. Even those few schools, which had come to establish a certain dist inctive Standing for themselves, would sometimes be penalized and denied the prospect of greater achievements. It is fortunate that in recent years of f ic ia l s in the Ministry of Education have begun to see the need for change. Some delegations of teachers and principals were sent to v i s i t schools in Britain and the United States over the last two years with the objective of examining new ideas. These v i s i t s , among others, helped to develop the beliefs that the granting of greater autonomy to schools was a necessary precursor to greater creativity and innovation and that the prospect of greater quality in education rested at the level of the school. There have since been discussions on what conditions are needed to allow greater f l e x i b i l i t y and to lead to an environment in which student creativity and independent thought would emerge. Many leaders in business and government hold the view that a thinking and creative workforce is a prerequisite for economic growth and v i a b i l i t y . Rather than have schools function only on the basis of instructions from the central authority, they should be encouraged to advance proposals of their own and become more effective educational agencies. In order to create or acquire a secure niche in the global economy of the 1990's, Singapore is bracing i t s e l f for a number of reforms. One of these is to find a new model of school management. 5 In his announcement that schools would ,be given more leeway to achieve excellence i n education, the Singapore Education Minister, Dr Tony Tan, envisaged that one measure which would give more f l e x i b i l i t y to schools i s the setting up of independent schools. He commented that, "the move must be exhaustively discussed before a decision i s made." Explaining his desire to give schools more freedom, Dr Tan said that t i l l now, schools have been "implementors of government p o l i c i e s rather than i n i t i a t o r s . " He added that " I t i s becoming increasingly evident that to leave the i n i t i a t i v e e n t i r e l y to the Ministry i s u n l i k e l y to bring about the q u a l i t a t i v e l y better education which we a l l hope to have." Giving more f l e x i b i l i t y to schools would ensure that schools can respond more s e n s i t i v e l y and quickly to the needs of t h e i r students and parents. Education System in Edmonton Edmonton, located in Alberta, Canada, i s a d i s t r i c t of 71,000 students and 3,903 teachers. It comprises 193 schools and has a budget of $307,337,000 (1986-87) which i s funded 53% by the Province, 10% by a p r o v i n c i a l levy on l o c a l properties, and 37% by l o c a l taxes. The co st per student was $4,931 for 1985—86. The f i r s t tangible evidence of SSDM i n Edmonton appeared i n 1976 when a p i l o t project was established. At that time there were about 150 schools in the Edmonton j u r i s d i c t i o n and the c e n t r a l o f f i c e was organized on a functional basis. School p r i n c i p a l s then 6 were' responsible to several assistant superintendents, directors, and supervisors. The school superintendent announced that there would be a pi lot project to find out how SSDM might work. Principals were invited to give their ideas on changes to the budgeting process and new ways, of making decisions at the school l eve l . Thirty-seven schools volunteered to take part in the pi lot project, and seven were selected : three elementary schools, an elementary/junior high school, a junior high school, a senior, high school, and a .special vocational school. The c r i t e r i a used to select the seven schools were the type of school, size, geographic location, and commitment to participate in the pi lot project for two years. The advantage of starting with a pilot project was that i t would provide an opportunity to work the idea out with relat ively few people who welcomed the idea of change and were committed to i ts success. They would be able to correct problems and rect i fy mistakes in a sheltered environment over the term of the project. The sceptics would have ample opportunity to assess the perceived merits of the program in operation. These merits included the following benefits : (1) Providing principals and teachers with an appropriate role in budgeting (subsidiarity); (2) Achieving more efficient use of funds allocated to each school (efficiency); (3) Providing schools with greater f l e x i b i l i t y in developing their instructional programs ( f l e x i b i l i t y ) ; and 7 (4) Encouraging and f a c i l i t a t i n g examination of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between program objectives, program outcomes and the costs involved ( a c c o u n t a b i l i t y ) . The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the selected schools are summarized below : Name o f School Type Enrolment No of Teachers Location Grosvenor Elementary 173 8.4 West Lynnwood Elementary 442 22.0 West Kensington Elementary 360 17.7 North Parkdale Elem/Jr. High 460 22.0 North-Central Hardisty Junior High 765 38.0 East M.E. Lazerte Senior High 1850 93.5 North-East W.P. Wagner Special High 1100 82.0 South-. East Vocational Sources : Edmonton Public School Board Annual Report 1977 and Caldwell (1977 : 423).. 8 Each school received a l l o c a t i o n s f or (a) c e r t i f i c a t e d and n o n - c e r t i f i c a t e d s t a f f (using the same c r i t e r i a employed, for other schools i n the system) and (b) amounts i n d o l l a r s representing the estimated costs of a l l programs to be d e c e n t r a l i z e d i n the " s e r v i c e s purchased", " s u p p l i e s " and " c a p i t a l o u t l a y " categories (determined i n 1976-77 on the basis of 1975 expenditure patterns i n each of the seven s c h o o l s ) . A budget was then prepared at each school to r e a l l o c a t e the a v a i l a b l e funds while observing the terms of c o l l e c t i v e agreements, school board p o l i c y and A l b e r t a education c u r r i c u l u m g u i d e l i n e s . Average s a l a r i e s were used as budget u n i t s i n s t a f f i n g categories ( C a l d w e l l , 1979). The p i l o t p r o j e c t was monitored by the A l b e r t a Teachers' A s s o c i a t i o n , Edmonton P u b l i c l o c a l , but no formal e v a l u a t i o n of the p i l o t p r o j e c t was undertaken. I t appeared that g e n e r a l l y there was a favourable r e a c t i o n to d e c e n t r a l i z e d d e c i s i o n s regarding the a c q u i s i t i o n of supplies and equipment. In l a t e 1979, a f t e r four years of the p i l o t p r o j e c t , the Edmonton P u b l i c School Board approved the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e recommendation to implement s c h o o l - s i t e decision-making on a system-wide basis as from the 1980-81 school year. In the spring of 1980, a 20-month t r a n s i t i o n a l budget was approved. The f i r s t e i g h t months were covered by a c e n t r a l l y prepared budget, while the f o l l o w i n g twelve months (1980-81 school year) were drawn up i n the new format. P r i n c i p a l s were to be advised i n e a r l y February of each 9 year of the guidelines for budgeting and the lump-sum a l l o c a t i o n to t h e i r schools. School budgets were to be submitted to associate superintendents i n mid-March of each year. Central o f f i c e approval of school and system budgets followed in May of each year. The adoption of school-based budgeting was just one component of a major reorganization of the Edmonton Public School d i s t r i c t operations. Changes which preceded or followed the December 1979 decision included the appointment of six associate superintendents, each responsible for the administration of 25 to 30 schools in two areas of the c i t y ; a r e d e f i n i t i o n of the roles of central o f f i c e supervisors and consultants; and a broadly-based program of monitoring a c t i v i t i e s i n the system, with annual surveys of parents, p r i n c i p a l s , teachers, students and ce n t r a l o f f i c e s t a f f (Caldwell, 1980 : 23). The primary objective of the annual survey i s to measure student, parent and s t a f f opinions r e l a t i v e to the following system purposes : (1) Students develop p o s i t i v e attitudes toward s e l f , others, school and education; (2) The community feels the d i s t r i c t i s performing s a t i s f a c t o r i l y ; and (3) The d i s t r i c t ' s employees fe e l that the d i s t r i c t i s a good place to work. 10 The results of the surveys are used in a number of ways. At the school or branch level , the results provide reinforcement for what has been done, point out inadequacies, and indicate the need to develop plans for improvement in areas that are considered unsatisfactory. At the d i s t r i c t level , the results provide general information and an indication of trends in key areas about the performance of the d i s t r i c t and the schools. The Edmonton approach of a defined staff involvement and a cooperative undertaking (ie collaborative links with the community) has led to some dramatic achievements as perceived by the School Di s tr i c t . It has also caught the attention and interest of educators from other d i s tr ic t s in Canada as well as other countries. As Caldwell and Spinks wrote, "It has become a 'lighthouse' for both Canada and the United States with conferences organized by the d i s t r i c t in 1983 and 1986 drawing large numbers of participants from both countries." With more than seventy thousand students, this is probably the largest system in North America to have adopted such a comprehensive approach to school-site management (Caldwell & Spinks, 1988 : 18). 11 CHAPTER TWO SCHOOL-SITE DECISION-MAKING : -PAST LITERATURE AND PRESENT STUDY The School-Site Decision-Making (SSDM) system, a North American innovation, i s also known as School-Site Budgeting, School-Based Management, and Decentralized Decision-Making. These terms are used interchangeably in t h i s report, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n Chapter Two where past l i t e r a t u r e and other studies on the subject are reviewed. However, in the subsequent chapters, the term School-Site Decision-Making or SSDM i s mainly used. School decisions encompass at least the following nine areas : i n s t r u c t i o n a l co-ordination, curriculum development, s t a f f development, evaluation, general school improvement, personnel, rules and d i s c i p l i n e , general administration, and policy-making (Duke et a l , 1980 : 93). Definition, Scope and Nomenclature of SSDM SSDM stems from a b e l i e f that the i n d i v i d u a l school should be the fundamental decision-making unit within the educational system (Guthrie & Reed, 1986). Decentralization i s not an aim in i t s e l f , but a means to achieving other aims more a c t i v e l y , dynamically, co-operatively and innovatively (Mclean & Langlo, 1985 : 10). 12 The word " d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n " embraces a multitude of meanings and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s . How much or how l i t t l e decision-making i s to be passed down i s not cut and dry and v a r i e s from school d i s t r i c t to d i s t r i c t . However, they a l l have one t h i n g i n common. The school replaces the c e n t r a l o f f i c e as the basic u n i t of educational management. The f o l l o w i n g d e f i n i t i o n of school-based budgeting i s provided by Caldwell : "School-based budgeting e x i s t s i n a school system when the school board or c e n t r a l o f f i c e a d m i n i s t r a t o r s provide p r i n c i p a l s , i n c o n s u l t a t i o n with s t a f f , with an opportunity to prepare and administer a budget for the a l l o c a t i o n of resources at the school l e v e l , with such a budget to include a l l o c a t i o n s f or c e r t i f i c a t e d and n o n - c e r t i f i c a t e d s t a f f as w e l l as for s u p p l i e s , equipment, and s e r v i c e s " (1980 : 21). Caldwell and Spinks (1988), i n t h e i r book "The Self-Managing School," defined the term "resources" broadly to include knowledge ( d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of d e c i s i o n s r e l a t e d to curriculum, i n c l u d i n g d e c i s i o n s r e l a t e d to the goals or ends of sc h o o l i n g ) ; technology ( d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of d e c i s i o n s r e l a t e d to the means of teaching and l e a r n i n g ) ; power ( d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of a u t h o r i t y to make d e c i s i o n s ) ; material ( d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of de c i s i o n s r e l a t e d to the use of f a c i l i t i e s , s u p p l i e s and equipment); people ( d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of d e c i s i o n s r e l a t e d to the a l l o c a t i o n of people i n matters concerning teaching and l e a r n i n g , and the support of teaching and l e a r n i n g ) ; time ( d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of de c i s i o n s r e l a t e d to the a l l o c a t i o n of time) ; and finance ( d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of de c i s i o n s r e l a t e d to the a l l o c a t i o n of money). 13 In the school-based budgeting process, school-based personnel are assigned authority to allocate funds to a variety of budget categories in accordance with pr ior i t ies that have been established at the school level and are within guidelines defined by provincial statutes, school board pol ic ies , and collective agreements with employee organizations. The underlying belief is that decisions should be made by the operating unit that is closest to the area of involvement i f i t is competent. According to Griff i ths et al (1979), those members of an organization who are l ike ly to be most affected by a decision should be involved in the decision-making process. The extent of the involvement should be related to the importance of the decision to the individual and the impact i t is l ike ly to have on his/her role in the organization (Bridges, 1967). Efforts to increase the autonomy of schools have differed in scope and nomenclature (Caldwell & Spinks, 1988). In Bri ta in , where the focus so far has been on decentralizing decisions related to the allocation of financial resources, the in i t ia t ive has been described by pioneering authorities as Local Financial Management (Cambridgeshire) and the School Financial Autonomy Scheme (Sol ihul) . In Canada, the i n i t i a l focus in a "Lighthouse" Scheme in Edmonton, Alberta, was also on the school budget, with the practice described as school-based budgeting. With the introduction of teacher effectiveness programmes and school-by-school approaches to programme evaluation, SSDM became the preferred descriptor (Caldwell 14 & Spinks, 1988 : 4). The change of descriptor also implied a shift in focus, that i s , the school-site decisions which concerned the allocation of resources were not made in the narrow financial sense in a l l instances, but often in the broader sense in the areas of curriculum, personnel and f a c i l i t i e s . In Vic tor ia , Austral ia, the general term "devolution" has been used to describe the sweeping change to the pattern of school governance which began with the enactment of legislation giving policy powers to school councils. The term "self-governing school" was used in a proposal to give a very high measure of autonomy to state schools meeting certain requirements. In the small number of d i s tr ic t s in the United States where changes along these lines have been made, a financial focus was known as school-site or school-based budgeting, with a . more comprehensive approach, especially where teacher and community involvement were sought (Caldwell & Spinks, 1988 : 4). T h e R a t i o n a l e a n d U n d e r l y i n g P h i l o s o p h y o f S S D M It is useful to br ief ly review some of the arguments in the l i terature offered in support of SSDM. The case can be presented from several perspectives drawn from fields of inquiry such as economics, pol i t ics and organization theory. Advocates have tradit ional ly argued on these grounds but, more recently, appeal has been made to findings from research on the need for increased professionalism among teachers effectiveness. 15 Political-economy. Garms, Guthrie and Pierce (1978) contended that centralized budgeting, with relat ively uniform allocations to schools and minimal opportunity for re-al location, impairs the achievement of equality and efficiency and, by implication, of choice. Equality of opportunity is impaired because a centralized budget makes i t d i f f i cu l t for schools to match services to student needs. Efficiency is impaired for the same reason but also for other reasons : centralized budgeting seldom provides incentives for efficiency, and frequently fa i l s to foster diversity through which more efficient and effective approaches to teaching and learning may be identif ied. The solution, according to these writers, is school-site management, with lump-sum budget allocations to schools, a high degree of community involvement in school decision-making, and the fostering of diversity within and among schools to ensure choice (Caldwell & Spinks, 1988 : 6). Organization Theory. Ever since the now classic studies by Coch and French (1948) on overcoming worker resistance to change, an increasing emphasis has been placed on the participation of workers in certain areas of management decision-making. Such participation has been primarily noted in the industrial and business domains, part icularly in Northern Europe and Japan, but only in the recent decade has there been much discussion of the value of participation in the education sector (Conway, 1978). 16 The involvement of the worker in management is the significant feature of quality c i rc le s . The underlying concept of the quality c i rc le is that people closest to the product are most l ike ly to develop creative solutions which wi l l improve the quality of the particular service or product. As Luthans (1981) pointed out, "Decentralization recognises and actually capitalizes on the importance of the human element. Most important, decentralization gives an opportunity for individual responsibil ity and in i t ia t ive at the lower levels." Support for an appropriate balance of centralization and decentralization may be drawn from the f ield of organization theory. Perrow (1970), for example, suggested that the pattern of centralization and decentralization in an organization can be determined through analysis of the techniques or technology required to get the work done as well as the nature of the people with whom the organization must deal. For example, for techniques or technology, where few exceptional cases must be dealt with and problems are relat ively simple, thus allowing for routines to be developed, a relat ively centralized structure is appropriate. Where many exceptional cases are encountered, and problems are more complex so that non-routine processes are required,' then a re lat ive ly decentralized structure is more appropriate. For organizations where people are central to the work, when people with whom the organization deals are relat ively uniform in nature and the 17 processes for dealing with those people are well understood, a re lat ive ly centralized structure is appropriate. Where people are diverse in nature and the processes for dealing with them are not well understood, then a relat ively decentralized structure is more appropriate. Applying Perrow's analysis to education results in patterns of centralization and decentralization of the kind found in places where the self-management of schools has been encouraged. Many matters related to support services, such as student transportation or the distribution of instructional supplies, allow for the development of routines applicable to a l l schools, suggesting a relat ively centralized structure for delivering such services. On the other hand, i f pupils are seen as having diverse needs, with each school expected to provide programs to meet these needs, and i f the nature of teaching and learning for each child cannot be well understood from a central perspective, then a more decentralized structure is appropriate. Thus, Caldwell and Sprinks concluded that "It is evident that establishing an appropriate balance of centralization' and decentralization requires careful analysis i f this perspective is adopted. It is also evident that such analysis wi l l be embedded in values related to the purpose of schooling and the nature of the ch i ld . For example, i f education is seen as being concerned with a relat ively narrow range of cognitive s k i l l s with the expectation that a l l children should have the same learning experiences in pursuit of similar outcomes and, further, i f children are seen as similar in nature with l i t t l e account of individual differences necessary, then a relat ively high degree of centralization may be appropriate" (1988 : 7). 18 An echo of this perspective from organisation theory may be found in the work of researchers such as Peters and Waterman (1982)', whose studies of excellent companies led them to the identif ication of 'simultaneous loose-tight properties' . They found that excellent companies are both centralized and decentralized, pushing autonomy down to the shop floor or production team for some functions, but remaining 'fanatical centralists about the core values they hold dear'. The paral le l in education is the centralized determination of broad goals and purposes of education accompanied by decentralized decision-making about the means by which these goals and purposes wi l l be achieved, with those people who are decentralized being accountable to those centralized for achieving outcomes. Increased Professionalism. Besides increased emphasis on participative management, there has also been an increasing demand for professional autonomy from teachers. The nature of these changes is noted in the following excerpts from professional l i terature : "There has been a clear and persistent movement towards more participative management techniques in the educational enterprise. Such an approach fundamentally changes the authority relationship between the teacher & the administrator" (Belasco, MiLstein, and Zaccarine, 1976 : 136). 19 "Teachers are becoming more capable of exercising a domain of professional expertise and are demanding a new role for themselves which includes greater professional autonomy and a larger voice i n the school system's decision-making process" (Cox & Wood, 1980 : 6). Increased autonomy for teachers and fewer bureaucratic controls have i n v a r i a b l y been included as elements in the case for enhancing teaching as, a profession. In the United States, for example, reports by the Carnegie Forum on Education (1986) and the Holmes Group (1986) advocated this course, with the l a t t e r s e t ting a goal of making schools better places for teachers to work, and to learn : "This w i l l require less bureaucracy, more professional autonomy, and more leadership for teachers." School Effectiveness. ' In recent years, school effectiveness has become a major concern of educators. While the 1960's were marked by large national studies i n v e s t i g a t i n g the e f f e c t s of input variables such as quantities of resources and student c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , recent research has focused, d i r e c t l y on school processes. In the 1980's, a new b e l i e f i s gaining c r e d i b i l i t y among educators, namely, that schooling does make a d i f f e r e n c e . Increasingly, however, the case for SSDM i s being argued on the basis of findings from studies of school e f f e c t i v e n e s s . Some write r s , after reviewing the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of e f f e c t i v e schools, have concluded that a form of self-management provides the best framework wherein these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s may be 20 fostered in a l l schools. Foremost are Purkey and Smith (1985), who, while expressing some reservations about the effective schools movement, concluded that "existing research is sufficiently consistent to guide school improvements based on its conclusions." Purkey and Smith (1985) offered a model 'for creating an effective school' which drew from literature in four areas : classroom research on teacher effectiveness; research on the implementation of educational innovations and school organisations which identify the role of school culture in school improvement; research in workplaces other than education; and consistency between effective schools research and the experience of practit ioners. Their models contain thirteen characteristics, nine of which can be implemented relat ively quickly; the remaining four, defining the school's culture, take time because they require the development of an appropriate climate. The f i r s t group of nine includes school-site management and democratic decision-making wherein "the staff of each school is given a considerable amount of responsibil ity and authority in determining the exact means by which they address the problem of increasing academic performance. This includes giving staffs more authority over curricular and instructional decisions and allocation of building resources". 21 Four policy recommendations were offered by Purkey and Smith, each of which has implications for self-management. They included recommendations that "the school [must be] the focus of change; i t s culture, the ultimate policy target"; "resources, especially time and technical assistance, must be provided that wi l l encourage and nurture the process of collaboration and participation necessary to change both people and structures, in schools"; and "an inverted pyramid approach to changing schools [must] be adopted that maximizes local responsibil ity for school improvement while i t recognizes the legal responsibil ity of the higher government levels." Finn (1984) addressed another implication of the effective schools research when he called for "strategic independence" for schools. He noted that "the central problem faced by policy makers who attempt to transform the findings of 'effective schools' research into improved educational practice at state or local level is the tension between school-level autonomy and systemwide uniformity." His nine commandments for strategic independence included the recognition of the school as "the key organisational unit in the public school system". Finn's recommendations, along with the model of Purkey and Smith, are consistent with the contingency view of organisations offered by Perrow as far as centralization and decentralization are concerned : a point must be found in the continuum which provides for centralization of authority for some functions, but decentralization for others. 22 Research Project This research project reports case studies which investigated the nature, objectives, adoption, operation and perceived outcomes of decentralized school decision-making in two Edmonton Public Schools - one elementary junior high and the other senior high. Purpose of the Study. L i t t l e material has been written to explain why school-based management schools are achieving the levels of success that they are producing. As Brown (1987) wrote, "While extensive l iterature has been written on the Edmonton's approach, the empirical evidence about school-based management is sparse." This research project attempts to reveal the unique qualities and characteristics of the SSDM schools that help to explain their success. The project was undertaken specif ical ly with the following purposes : (1) To understand better the i n i t i a l hopes and objectives that motivated the in i t iators of the SSDM project; (2) To identify implementation problems, and document how these problems were addressed (what changes were made in procedures and in objectives, at both the central and school levels); (3) To examine the evidence as to what the benefits and costs have been thus far to students, teachers,. and the community; and 23 (4) To determine how adequate the Edmonton model is in helping school personnel make responsible decisions in a time of economic constraints. The findings wi l l add to the information already available on the development of SSDM. They wi l l attempt to reaffirm the importance of decentralizing decision-making to schools, and provide a basis for further research on the factors contributing to the success of SSDM schools. Most important of a l l , i t is hoped that the findings wi l l help point the way for Singapore education o f f i c ia l s to formulate a new model of school management to bring about excellence in education. Research Questions. More precisely, the research addresses the following questions : (1) Is there any evidence that SSDM has promoted (a) leadership development; (b) . greater participation in the decision-making process at a lower level ; * (c) an increased sense of responsibility? (2) What evidence is there, i f any, that SSDM has been a contributing factor for the following expected outcomes : (a) raising the achievement levels of students; 24 (b) retaining students in school for longer periods of time; (c) increasing speed with which decisions can be made concerning local issues; (d) increasing administration efficiency and productivity; (e) keeping unit costs of education within budget guidelines? (3) Has SSDM enhanced the educational leadership role of the school principals? (4) What do principals and teachers see as negative aspects of SSDM? Are the gains of SSDM worth the costs (ie are the costs of SSDM balanced by enhanced effectiveness/efficiencies/ satisfaction)? (5) In what ways have SSDM procedures aided or hindered the process of service/cost reductions which became necessary as a result of reduced funding to Edmonton schools? Research Method and Case Study Site. This research project employs the case study method. Case study research does not involve the formulation of a prior hypothesis. Researchers attempt to suspend any preconceived ideas or notions that might undesirably influence the interpretation of what is being observed. They also 25 concentrate on the entire context and thus maintain a hol i s t ic view rather than focusing on bits and pieces. They attempt to maintain a perspective on the tota l i ty of the situation. Data collection in a case study can be conducted through a variety of means : participant observation, interviews with key individuals, and surveys that may support or refute information collected through observation. Yin reported that, "The evidence of case studies may come from fieldwork, archival records, verbal reports, observations, or any combination of these" (1981 : 58). The prime source of information in this study came from interviews with teachers of varying degrees of seniority, principals , and central office personnel. Apart from the interviews, there were two other sources of information : h i s tor ica l and evaluative documents provided by the central off ice , and research undertaken by others on school-based management. The case study was limited to two schools - one elementary junior high and one senior high both in the Edmonton Public School D i s t r i c t . The levels of schools were predetermined by the researcher but the actual schools were, recommended by the Edmonton public school board. As requested by the pr inc ipal , the name of the senior high school has been given the pseudonym "Lighthouse" to preserve i ts anonymity. 26 The elementary junior high school was the Strathearn Community School, which has a combined enrolment of students from kindergarten up to the grade 9 l e v e l . The school has a s t a f f of 16 teachers (including the p r i n c i p a l who i s also a subject teacher), 1 community school co-ordinator, 2 s e c r e t a r i e s , 2 custodians, 1 program aide, 1 l i b r a r y aide and 1 clerk. The school operated with an annual budget of $861,762 in 1986/87 for a school population of 257 students. Besides the p r i n c i p a l and his two assistants, the "Lighthouse" school has a s t a f f of 42 teachers, 2 guidance o f f i c e r s , 1 business manager, 1 l i b r a r y a s s i s t a n t , 1 laboratory as s i s t a n t , and 9 s e c r e t a r i e s . The school operated with an annual budget of $2.77 m i l l i o n i n 1986/87 for a school population of 1,011 students from grades 10 to 12. In Edmonton, the school budgets vary i n size from $172,000 to $6.6 m i l l i o n among the 193 schools. About 90% of these schools operate with a budget of less than $2 m i l l i o n . The "Lighthouse" School i s therefore considered one of the larger schools i n Edmonton. With the permission and assistance of the Edmonton public school board, the researcher was able to conduct interviews at these schools over two months (October to December) in the academic year 1987/88. Interviews ranged i n duration from t h i r t y to ninety minutes. The p r i n c i p a l s and s t a f f answered questions about the 27 school without h e s i t a t i o n . When acceptable to the interviewee, interviews were recorded on tape. Otherwise extensive notes were taken. There was, without exception, f u l l cooperation. The analysis of data here i s very s i m p l i f i e d : only the clearest of themes are pursued. Quotations are precise and considered representative unless otherwise indicated. Transcripts of the .interviews were typed and the d e t a i l s v e r i f i e d with the two p r i n c i p a l s i n May 1988. The deta i l e d descriptions of the Strathearn Community and "Lighthouse" schools are contained i n Chapters Three and Four. Delimitations and Limitations The study i s subject to the delimitations and l i m i t a t i o n s stated below : (1) The study was delimited to the sample of schools selected from the Edmonton Public School D i s t r i c t i n Alberta; (2) The study was delimited to the perceptions of p r i n c i p a l s and teachers on SSDM; (3) The lim i t e d opinions obtained through the interviews could have biased the r e s u l t s ; and (4) Generalizations drawn from the study were lim i t e d to the schools selected for the study. However, the generalizations have some implications for other schools. 28 CHAPTER THREE THE STRATHEARN COMMUNITY SCHOOL « Strathearn Community School is an elementary-junior high school with combined enrolments of students from kindergarten up to the grade nine level . The school is housed in a two-storey brick building constructed in 1952. The building is basically a horseshoe design and houses the general offices, gymnasiums, home economics and industrial arts f a c i l i t i e s , l ibrary , music room, and classrooms. ' The school f a c i l i t y is available for community education, recreational, cu l tural , and social use on an extended-time basis, daily and yearly. Several churches and small business establishments are located within Strathearn Community. An outdoor skating rink with a change f a c i l i t y is located within walking distance of the school. In addition, the school has access to several bicycle t ra i l s which extend throughout, the community and c i ty at large. The proximity of' Connors Ski H i l l , Bennett Science Centre, Strathcona Wilderness Area, and the Kinsman Field Home allows the community school to further extend its curricular studies and ac t iv i t i e s . Housed within the school building is the After-School Child-Care Program which provides a child-care service for working parents whose children attend the community school. 29 Strathearn community is an established residential community composed of lower-income families l iv ing in subsidized housing. The majority of the students come from single-parent families and their parents are mainly blue-collar workers with less than grade twelve education. Only five percent of these parents are professionals. Senior citizens comprise a large majority of the current residents and several senior c i t izen residences have been constructed in the area. There are a number of small, well established businesses and services available, in the community. The community league, having undergone a variety of changes owing to the changing population, has d i f f i cu l ty maintaining adequate support. Change to Community School Status Strathearn became a community school in September 1975 through funding from the project Co-operation Community School incentive grant. A community school means more than just a school building in the evenings. .Inherent in the community school philosophy is the bel ief that each community school program should reflect the needs o f - i t s particular community. A community school, provides a means to strengthen a sense of belonging for the people in the neighbourhood. It also provides the opportunity for people to work together to achieve community and self-improvement. The Strathearn School offers l i felong learning . and enrichment opportunities in educational, recreational, social and related cultural services with" the programs and act iv i t ies developed for citizens of a l l ages, ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic groups. 30 Act iv i t ies and programs are not confined , to the school building i t s e l f because the school.extends i t s e l f into the community. The Strathearn Community School Council was original ly developed from the Parents Advisory Committee. The Community School Council draws i ts membership from the broad spectrum of the community. The project Co-operation Community School incentive grant o f f i c i a l l y terminated for Strathearn in August 1980. Because of the lack of funds, the Community School Council was unable to retain a co-ordinator at that time. Strathearn Community School received an o f f i c i a l provincial designation on Apri l 1, 1982 and has continued to operate under provincial guidelines since then. Review of the Community School An Evaluating Team comprising personnel from the Alberta Education Office and Recreation & Parks Personnel was formed in 1987 to conduct a review of Strathearn Community School to determine i f the community school program expenditures were in compliance with Alberta Education . Community School grant conditions and regulations. The evaluation team report (1987 : 6) indicates that "the evaluators are impressed with the efforts of the school to function as an integral part of the community." Among other things, the evaluation team noted the following achievements by the school : (1) It has involved the community in special events; (2) It has made the Community Resources Inventory Bank (CRIB) available; 31 (3) It has invited seniors and others into the school to be involved in studying and recording h is tor ica l and cultural events; (4) It has made use of the local environment and f a c i l i t i e s for educational purposes; (5) It has involved parents in many ways (special events, lunchroom, school barbeque). Some have even taken part in the school programs such as teaching classes after school and in the evening, tutoring children, or even acting as a resource person in the classroom; (6) It has supported and encouraged the Parent Advisory Council; (7) It has kept channels of communication open between and among a l l stakeholder groups; (8) It has accepted and ut i l ized public input in writing and publishing the school newsletters; and (9) It has involved students in developing and implementing school projects. An example of this is the Senior Reach-Out Program where students help seniors on a regular basis with odd jobs, gardening and shoveling of snow (p. 7). A recommendation was subsequently made by the evaluation team that the Charter of Strathearn Community School be extended and that the school continue to receive the designated grant. 32 General Description of Strathearn School This section contains a general description of Strathearn under the headings of s t a f f , budget, student enrolment, programs and c o n t r o l . Staff. At the year-end of 1987, the school had a- s t a f f of 16 teachers (including the p r i n c i p a l who i s also a subject teacher), 1 community school co-ordinator, 2 s e c r e t a r i e s , 2 custodians, 1 program aide, 1 l i b r a r y aide and 1 cle r k . The turnover of teachers since 1979 i s considered to be d r a s t i c : No of Staff No of Staff Year (In) (Out) 1979-80 to 1981-82 10 13 1982-83 to 1984-85 11 20 1985-86 to 1987-88 11 7 The year 1985-86 was the only year where no change i n the s t a f f i n g p o s i t i o n was experienced. A t o t a l of eleven new teachers have joined the school since 1986-87. Budget and Student Enrolment. There were great fluctuations i n the budget a l l o c a t i o n over the l a s t few years. The school operated within an annual budget of $861,762 i n 1986-87. The proposed budget for 1987-88 stands at $727,359 r e g i s t e r i n g a decrease of $134,403 (16 percent) due to a smaller school population. The enrolment stood at 257 in 1986-87 but i t dropped to 33 222 students in 1987-88. The enrolment pattern of the last few years is given below. The changes of cost per student are also indicated based on the budget allocations over the last few years. Year Student Enrolment Budget ($) Cost Per Student ($) 1980/81 385 741,731 1,927 1981/82 375 832,007 2,219 1982/83 371 938,632 2,530 1983/84 331 846,788 2,558 1984/85 324 834,529 2,576 1985/86 286 785,771 2,747 1986/87 257 861,762 . 3,353 1987/88 222 727,359 3,276 The teaching salaries accounted for 63 percent of the budget in 1986-1987, and 71 percent in 1987-1988. (Staff costs in each budget are based on average salaries plus benefits, rather than the actual salaries paid to staff in each school.) The reduced student population at a l l grade levels since 1985/86 and a moderately high transciency rate are a reflection of the general age of the neighbourhood. Consequently, the program needs to be continually adapted to provide for the needs of the various stakeholder groups. Almost 90 percent of the students are residents of the community despite the open-boundary system in the Edmonton Public School D i s t r i c t . Ninety-five percent of Strathearn's students are Caucasian, four percent are Native Indians, and about one percent are Orientals. 34 Programs. In order to meet the academic and social needs, various integrated programs, including regular, adaptation, academic challenge, pre-vocational, English as a second language and extended French, are offered. The adaptation program is designed for students in elementary and junior high school who have had a severe delay in academic functioning which is not direct ly related to : (a) Mental handicap, or (b) English as a second language. The academic challenge program is intended for students in elementary and junior high school with superior intel lectual ab i l i ty and academic achievement. The pre-vocational program is for students of high-school age with continued academic d i f f i cu l ty and/or fa i lure , having a desire for a vocationally-oriented program. The English as a Second Language program is meant for students whose f a c i l i t y with spoken and written English seriously impairs their ab i l i ty to function in other d i s t r i c t programs. The extended French programs were init iated in grades four and seven. The grade 4/5 program follows the "Promenade" series which emphasizes participation in games, songs, d r i l l s and skits . The grade 7/8 program follows the "Vive le Francais" series which stresses the systematic development of the four language sk i l l s ( l istening, speaking, reading and writing). Control. Discipline at Strathearn is based on the bel ief that a l l individuals must be responsible for their act iv i t ies and that everyone has the right to the respect of others, thus enabling them to learn in a safe environment. The school perceives that the 35 most effective method of developing self-control and respect for others in a school setting is for parents and teachers to work as a team so that they are recognized by the children as being deeply concerned with their welfare and growth. If a student chooses to misbehave through disruption or disrespect, he/she may suffer a loss of privileges such as special events or extra-curricular act iv i t ies or may be subjected to detention after school. On further offence, the principal wi l l consider other avenues such as in-school suspension, counselling, short-term suspension or corporal punishment. If necessary, parents are. contacted for support in solving the problem (Strathearn School Handbook, p^  29). Though discipl ine is not a problem in Strathearn, some teachers expressed the view that students were comparatively more demanding, thus, requiring more attention and efforts from them. S c h o o l - S i t e D e c i s i o n - M a k i n g P r o j e c t : I n i t i a l S t a g e Like a l l other schools, Strathearn receives a global budget each year to manage the school. Many functions used to be controlled by the central off ice. Now, custodial services, maintenance and even purchasing of supplies are decentralized to the level of the school. Similarly, decisions related to special educational services become the responsibil ity of each pr inc ipal , rather than being controlled centrally. The school can purchase the services and supplies i t needs from the central office or from outside suppliers, and pays for these purchases from its own budget. The principal is held accountable for the manner in which resources are allocated. 36 When SSDM was f i r s t implemented, there was less constraint on f i n a n c i a l resources than what i s experienced today. The p r i n c i p a l and teachers had s u f f i c i e n t funds to carry out.various c u r r i c u l a r and s t a f f development a c t i v i t i e s which they believed best met the needs of t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r school. In short, they had control over t h e i r budgetary items. Teachers s t i l l had v i v i d memories of centra l i z e d procurement procedures under which, for example, they had to wait two or three months to obtain typewriter ribbons. During this waiting period, the school received shipments p e r i o d i c a l l y of things that were not so urgently needed. SSDM eliminated t h i s sort of s i t u a t i o n . Since the inception of the SSDM system i n 1979, Strathearn has been headed by three p r i n c i p a l s . The f i r s t p r i n c i p a l l e f t one year a f t e r SSDM was implemented system-wide. The second p r i n c i p a l held the p r i n c i p a l s h i p between the years 1980-81 and 1984-85. He asked to r e l i n q u i s h t h i s p o s i t i o n and has been teaching i n a high school ever since-. The present p r i n c i p a l assumed duties at Strathearn i n 1985, a f t e r heading an elementary school for four years. The second p r i n c i p a l (1980-85) reported that the budgeting process established then by central o f f i c e for a l l schools consisted of four major tasks : 37 (1) To set program p r i o r i t i e s for the coming school year; (2) To i d e n t i f y s p e c i f i c objectives which were consistent with the p r i o r i t i e s ; (3) To a l l o c a t e funds in such a manner that the objectives could be achieved; and (4) To specify the ways in which the achievement of objectives were to be measured. The process began i n January and the bulk of the work was completed by the end of March. He was given "carte blanche" to develop hi s own procedures for involving teachers in the budgeting process. During his term, a Budget Committee was set up with three s t a f f involved (members of the committee changed each year). The Committee worked out a preliminary plan on budget a l l o c a t i o n based on proposed p r i o r i t i e s . The plan was then submitted for consideration at the s t a f f meeting (held monthly). This study includes interviews with the second p r i n c i p a l (1980-85); the present p r i n c i p a l (1985 to-date), fourteen teachers, one co-ordinator and two s e c r e t a r i e s . This accounts for 75% of the t o t a l number of s t a f f at Strathearn. Among the fourteen teachers interviewed, four had not begun to teach when SSDM was f i r s t introduced in the school. The other ten teachers indicated in the interviews that they had not been involved a c t i v e l y i n the i n i t i a l years. Beginnning i n 1982 and 1983, Strathearn teachers recounted that they began to be more 38 involved when the concept of decentralization was more internalized. For example, they were asked to help set pr ior i t ies and to establish certain budget allocations. Since 1985 when the present principal assumed her duties, teachers' participation in decision-making has been even more actively so l ic i ted . Problems Encountered During the I n i t i a l Stage SSDM involved changes in attitudes as well as changes in procedures. It called for the development of new sk i l l s on the part of teachers and principals a l ike . Leithwood and Fulan (1984) identify the following factors as normal concomitants of change : (1) Significant classroom and school change is a time-consuming process; i t also requires constant attention and problem solving; (2) The i n i t i a l states of any significant change always create anxiety and uncertainty; (3) A . fundamental requirement for long-term, successful change is for people to understand the underlying conception and rationale; they must know why the new way works better; and (4) Organizational conditions within the school (peer norms, administrative leadership) and in relation to the school (for example administrative support and technical help) have a c r i t i c a l bearing on the success of the change process. 39 The second p r i n c i p a l and teachers were asked to r e c a l l problems encountered i n implementing the SSDM p r o j e c t . These are summarized and discussed below along with a number of concerns expressed by d i f f e r e n t i n d i v i d u a l s . Insufficient Lead Time. The second p r i n c i p a l and most teachers (11 out of 14) perceived that the i n i t i a l process took place with considerable haste. They a l s o r e c a l l e d that change occurred with tens ion and fear as "SSDM was implemented suddenly f o l l o w i n g a p i l o t run at seven schools. There was too much pressure on p r i n c i p a l s who had no experience i n coping with the demands." In comments on t h i s aspect, the t y p i c a l remark was " I t would have been b e t t e r i f the change could have been introduced l e s s suddenly. You l i v e day to day i n a school so the changes seem sudden.'' Most teachers i n d i c a t e d that more, lead time should have been provided for them to get used to the proposed innovation as t h i s would have helped to a l l a y fear and t e n s i o n . Even though p r i n c i p a l s and teachers were advised more than one year i n advance that a new system was to be i n s t i t u t e d , nonetheless, the perceptions of teachers were that innovation was "rushed", and was introduced "suddenly". 40 Insufficient Informat xon Related to the SSDM. It was also pointed out by a l l interviewees that the advantages of decentralization were at no time communicated to teachers in sufficient detail to enable them to understand ful ly and accept the new system. Teachers also claimed that there was a lack of information related to the budget and the budget process. Teachers' fear of the new and unexplored was never signif icantly allayed. The second principal also reported that "There was a lack of c lar i ty on the roles and responsibi l i t ies of the principal . Principals could no longer act with the certainty of the past. Had the central office clearly indicated to principals their degree of freedom, principals might have acted more confidently." Insufficient Time to Learn New S k i l l s . The second principal and teachers thought that they did not have time to learn the necessary sk i l l s to perform tasks which had not been previously required of them. They were convinced that such a program could not work i f the people responsible for i ts operation did not have the necessary s k i l l s . Some teachers described the situation then as, "It was l ike the machine required was in place but people real ly did not have the driver sk i l l s to switch i t on and go barrell ing down the highway." Others, while not sharing this idea exactly, felt strongly that the lack of sk i l l s was one of the major problems, encountered. According to them, they needed help in the areas of setting goals, standards and objectives, and the knowledge of converting these into strategies and plans. Even the .secretary of 41 the school f e l t that she was "rushed" into handling some work that she was not trained to do. She experienced great d i f f i c u l t i e s i n handling of accounting and in coding budget requests. The second p r i n c i p a l and s t a f f believed that with adequate t r a i n i n g of p r i n c i p a l s , teachers and school s t a f f , the objective of involving s t a f f i n the decision-making process in order to obtain t h e i r motivation and commitment would have been more f u l l y r e a l i z e d . The Problem of Involving Teachers in Budget Planning. The second p r i n c i p a l reported that i n i t i a l l y there was a problem in getting the involvement of teachers i n planning the budget. He r e c a l l e d that teachers then were not too enthusiastic; they preferred a plan to be worked out by him f i r s t . He added "With the plan in hand, teachers might make comments here and there but they did not wish to spend much time to come out with t h e i r own plan." At that time, a few teachers even opposed the concept of school budgeting and f a i l e d to see any merit i n the process. The second p r i n c i p a l said "Teachers f e l t that SSDM had very l i t t l e e f f e c t on what i s a c t u a l l y going on i n the classroom. Generally they seemed to fe e l 'leave me alone and I ' l l do my job'." There was also a tendency among teachers to think of school-based budgeting in terms of business management rather than in terms of educational decision-making. The teachers' modal remark was "We are not economists, we are here to teach!" This was a natural reaction since, as recorded e a r l i e r , the advantages of SSDM were not adequately communicated to teachers. 42 More Paperwork Required. The second principal and teachers recalled that a lot more paperwork was required by the central office i n i t i a l l y . This paperwork included the projection of pupil enrolments, the calculation of costs from the basis of allocations to the school, and the provision of regular, timely, and accurate financial reports. Moreover,, schools were expected to record the pr ior i t i es set by each subject area, thus demanding more time and effort . (Today, details required for financial reports have been reduced and schools are only required to set overall objectives and pr ior i t ies for the school as a whole.) Work-Related Stress. The second principal and most teachers reported their experiences of stress during the i n i t i a l stage of SSDM. The second principal stated that many aspects of school-based budgeting contributed to his experience of overall work-related stress. F i r s t l y , there was an additional time demand on himself and teachers for preparing the budget. Secondly, under SSDM, the burden of responsibil ity for the budget was shifted from central office to principals . Thirdly, the process of school-based budgeting increased the potential for confl ict between staff and principal and animosity among teachers. These negative aspects were also recounted by a few teachers. One of them explained "School-based budgeting has created infighting . . . and this has created stress. I am an English teacher and my budget is $5,000. When I see $10,000 being spent for'student ac t iv i t i e s , I become upset." 43 Another frustrating aspect as recounted by the second principal was the fact that principals had become v i s ib ly responsible for the operation of the school while being restricted by inadequate allocations and external constraints. He also perceived the writing of. goals and prior i t ies annually as an academic exercise and commented "I was tired of having to put so much effort on these papers which were meant for show only. I was also tired of having to please the central office a l l the time." Accountable for Performance Without Full Control Cver Teachers and Students. The second principal reported that "To me, the most objectionable aspect of the SSDM lies in the fact that principals are held accountable for the performance of the outputs [meaning the students]." He added, "People in the School Board assume that a specific input subjected to a specific process w i l l always produce a specific output. This model may work in physics but not in education. It is unreasonable measuring the outputs of the educational process (student performance) to assess the quality of the process (school effectiveness, act iv i t ies and procedures). This is because the quality and nature of the significant inputs such as students and teachers . are often not controlled by the principal . Principals may be in a position to control resources but they are the least significant of . the inputs. Is i t reasonable, then, to give principals control of such a small portion of the inputs and then to hold them accountable for the outputs?" 44 Although principals are free to hire and fire personnel under SSDM (which means they have control over one of the major inputs) , the second principal felt that he could not do much with the existing staff whose attitude and performance did not meet with his expectation. Intermediate Developments Some developments which took place during the intermediate stage were recorded. Shift in Areas of Concern. Teachers i n i t i a l l y were more concerned with those areas which were "distinctly instructional rather than administrative." However, they became more interested in budgetary decision-making when they discovered the relationship between the budget and what was possible for them to do in their classrooms. "Adaptable" Leadership Styles. The second development concerned the change in the second principal's own leadership style. At the beginning, he had to employ a more "authoritarian" leadership style and make unilateral decisions with only an occasional effort to obtain teachers' opinions and ideas. The style employed, though not consistent with school-based budgeting, was 45 based on the i n i t i a l situation as described ear l ier , that i s , teachers were not interested in spending too much time and effort on management decisions and that they preferred a plan be made by the principal with their inputs included later . As time progressed, teachers became more appreciative of the objective of school-based budgeting. Teachers recognised that many possible programs could be offered in a school and these could be implemented in a variety of ways. Decision-making regarding educational programs was thus to be open-ended and called for the consideration of alternatives. It became doubtful that the information and expertise required to identify and weigh alternatives should be "vested in only one person. These factors suggested the wisdom of shifting from an authoritarian leadership style to a consultative leadership style, since teachers were more wil l ing to provide inputs. Sol ic i tat ion of teacher input at that time was no longer perceived by teachers as the principal wishing to "cover" himself. The fu l l participative leadership style (also referred to as group leadership style by Likert , 1967; Vroom & Yettin, 1973) which involves teachers and the principal together in collaborative decision-making was the desirable leadership style under school-based budgeting. However, the second principal commented 46 tha t , 'Des irable l eadership s ty les and feas ib le leadership s ty les may be two d i f f e r e n t th ings ." He expressed doubts about the f e a s i b i l i t y of i n v o l v i n g teachers f u l l y i n a l l dec is ions re la ted to the school operat ions . He viewed that the teachers themselves a lso gave no i n d i c a t i o n of d e s i r i n g a ro l e greater than that of providing input for the p r i n c i p a l s ' decis ion-making. Problems Encountered by the Present Principal since the Assumption of Duty After working as a p r i n c i p a l under the SSDM system for a few years , the second p r i n c i p a l decided to r e l i n q u i s h the p r i n c i p a l s h i p i n 1985. The present p r i n c i p a l , who was. formerly a v i c e - p r i n c i p a l in an elementary schoo l , took o f f i c e i n la te 1985. The problems which ' she encountered af ter her assumption of duty are discussed below. Unwillingness to Participate. Although most teachers prefer p r i n c i p a l s who involve teachers in decis ion-making, there are i n d i v i d u a l s who, as the concept of "zone of acceptance" impl i e s , do not wish to p a r t i c i p a t e in any d e c i s i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y in those for which they do not have a personal stake. This was the s i t u a t i o n faced by the present p r i n c i p a l when she f i r s t took o f f i c e in 1985. Moreover, some teachers were i n c l i n e d to think that although i t was 47 re lat ive ly easy to involve staff in a small school, there was so l i t t l e f l e x i b i l i t y in the budget that involvement hardly seemed worthwhile. Diversion of Human Resources. Another problem which persists even today is that teachers perceived that human resources were being diverted from the main purpose of the school,, that i s , the teaching/learning process, to administration. For many dedicated teachers, these additional responsibi l i t ies disrupted what they saw as their major task, as the following comments from teachers i l lus trate : "SSDM has caused disruption to. teaching and distracted teachers from their main job of teaching children. The people in the central office forget that you are so involved with teaching kids. You want to be there with the kids and in the primary school, you have to be in the classroom most of the time. When do you have a l l the time to read the documents and attend a l l the meetings?" The present principal confessed that teachers have been in this d i f f i cu l t situation ever since SSDM was implemented. She remarked that "This situation seems insurmountable to me. The job of the teacher is much more d i f f i c u l t than ever. Sometimes I almost feel guilty asking them to do more things. They are constantly pressed for time." 48 Increased Work Load. The present principal reported that her duties as principal had increased s ignif icantly. She had to oversee budget, maintenance, caretaking and rentals, which detracted from her ab i l i ty to be a principal teacher. Moreover, a l l principals were now expected to assume a more public role , interacting with people in the wider community, forging links between the school and i ts environment. She said "The principal must now assume a PR role in the community, performing tasks which in the past were optional. There is now a new network associated with community involvement. I must make efforts to have the school and its achievements publicized in local papers." As Strathearn is located in a lower socio-economic area where parents are unaccustomed to participating in school, decision-making, she ^reported spending considerable time "running around trying to increase the number of parents prepared to serve in the School Council and be involved." While such act iv i t ies contributed to a more varied and fragmented professional l i f e than that experienced by her in the past, they also contributed to a greater incidence of stress. Present Situation The present principal that there is more direct communication between schools and the central office today. The contributing factor could be the new principle of organization introduced under SSDM, namely "Each individual shall have only one supervisor." 49 Since SSDM was put into effect, some form of adjustment had been made every year to the formulae which were used for allocating funds. A l l these changes were believed to have been implemented in hopes of finding a more equitable basis for allocations. Another major change was that i n i t i a l l y there were limitations of a narrow focus on finance. Progressively, the financial plans reflected educational plans, ensuring that resources were allocated to meet pr ior i t ies among the special needs which were identified for the school. The present principal recognized that one of her main tasks was to help teachers understand the SSDM process in greater depth and to resolve any problems/issues in more challenging ways. She was confident that "change is more l ike ly to be accepted i f a consistent philosophy is developed." The present principal and most teachers recognized that SSDM had been more favourably received at the school following stabi l izat ion of the change. The teachers also pointed out that they were entirely happy with their level of participation. They were also satisfied with their more defined role , responsibil ity and expectation. Some significant outcomes highlighted by the present principal and teachers are discussed below. 50 Budget Preparation Procedures. Important procedures for budget preparation have been developed which leave no room for uncertainty or confusion. These procedures specify the occasions when s t a f f are to be involved and also when parents and students are to be consulted. The procedures are outlined i n Appendix I. The process i s managed by a budget committee headed by the p r i n c i p a l . There are seven people on the Committee : the p r i n c i p a l (chairman), the counsellor, two teacher representatives, one parent representative, the student council president and the community school coordinator. Average Teaching Time. SSDM has made i t possible for school s t a f f to become more d i r e c t l y involved i n developing educational plans to meet the needs of the students i n th e i r schools. This i s evident from the fact that some schools have chosen to operate with smaller classes by having teachers teach for 1400 minutes per week, while others have chosen to reduce the amount of i n s t r u c t i o n a l time by organizing correspondingly larger classes. The general pattern sees elementary schools choosing, smaller classes with an average teaching time of 1384 minutes per week, and high schools opting for larger classes with an average teaching time of 1307 minutes per week. In Strathearn, the average duration spent i n i n s t r u c t i o n per FTE ( F u l l Time Equivalent) i s 1387.4 minutes per week. (The highest average teaching assignments stand at 1400 minutes.) 51 Student Achievement. The newly designed ways to evaluate students in years 3, 6, and 9 at Strathearn reflect some excellent results in 1986-1987. The majority of students in year 3 met the Grade 3 benchmark for Edmonton Public Schools in Language Arts, Mathematics and Science. Students at the year 6 level performed extremely well with 83 percent meeting the Grade 6 benchmark for the system in Language Arts, and 73 percent meeting the benchmark in Social Studies. Seventy percent of the students met the Grade 9 benchmark for .Language Arts, and 72 percent met the benchmark in Science. Student-Parent-Staff Attitude Survey. The Edmonton Public School Board conducts an annual survey of the staff, students, parents and community. The primary objective of this survey is to measure student, parent and staff opinions relative to the following school system purposes : (1) Students develop positive attitudes toward self , others, school and education; (2) The community feels that the d i s tr i c t is performing sat is factori ly; and (3) The d i s t r i c t ' s employees feel the d i s tr i c t is a good place to work. 52 In order to obtain this information, questionnaires were administered to random samples of approximately 16,000 students and 15,000 parents as well as to a l l staff in the school d i s t r i c t (figures based on the last surveys - 1985 and 1986). The one-page student and staff questionnaires were completed at the schools. Questionnaires for the parents were mailed out and followed up by telephone to ensure a high rate of return. The parent portion of the survey was handled entirely by Monitoring & Assessment Services Staff at the central off ice. The response rates of these surveys normally exceed ninety percent for each group of respondents. The information is used to guide the School Board's decisions in meeting student and community needs. Strathearn monitors this survey very closely every year. The 1987 parent attitude survey reflected very positive aspects of Strathearn School and its program. The results are summarized as follows : (1) For grades K to 6, over 90 percent of parents responded positively to a total of eighteen areas. Some examples are (a) Offering and emphasizing right programs and extra-curricular programs; (b) Handling of student disc ipl ine; o (c) Distr ict using money in a reasonable manner; (d) Pr inc ipal , teachers and non-teaching staff are friendly and helpful; (e) Library service; (f) Information about chi ld's learning progress; and (g) Involvement in ac t iv i t i e s . The areas requiring improvement include those where less than 85 percent of the parents were sat isf ied. These were : (a) Superintendent of Schools; (b) Dis tr ic t ' s programs and achievements; and (c) Involvement in school budget planning. For grades 7-9, over 90 percent of parents responded positively to a total of seventeen areas. Some examples are (a) Offering and emphasizing right programs; (b) Students suff ic iently challenged; (c) Satisfied with teachers, pr incipal , superintendent, board of trustees, and non-teaching staff; . (d) Library services; and (e) School's programs and accomplishments. The areas requiring improvement include those where less than 85 percent of the parents were sat is f ied. These were : (a) Guidance and counselling service; (b) Dis tr ic t ' s programs and achievements; (c) Child likes school; (d) Involvement in act iv i t ies and programs; and (e) Involvement in school budget planning. 54 Despite a l l the i n i t i a l problems which the innovation created, the Strathearn School today is able to achieve the goals envisioned by the originators. On the whole, the school has dedicated and committed staff and satisfied students and parents. 55 CHAPTER FOUR THE "LIGHTHOUSE" COMPOSITE HIGH SCHOOL The "Lighthouse." Composite High School, which celebrated its 79th birthday in October 1986, is the oldest high school in Edmonton. When i t was completed in 1907, "Lighthouse" Composite High School was described as the most modern school in Alberta. Among i ts many features were a well-equipped chemistry and physics laboratory and the newest device in heating control, a thermostat. In the f a l l of 1955, the school moved to a new location, adjacent to the South Side Athletic Grounds. The school has occupied the same building ever since. The building is three storeys high with red pressed brick. Within its imposing brick structure, long halls with high ceilings are lined with single-teacher classrooms. Offices, cafeteria, gymnasium, a fine, and large l ibrary , and other service f a c i l i t i e s have their place inside the rectangle of academic corridors. A special feature worth mentioning is the spacious staff room which is located on the second level of the main building. Staff in "Lighthouse" meet here daily for morning coffee and lunch. The playing fields form a large part of the school compound. They l i e to the south of the buildings and are set against an agreeable background of low houses. 56 "Lighthouse" is for children of grades ten to twelve. The school has the reputation of being a "good school" : the visual impression is one of business, of serious purpose, tradition and s tab i l i ty . This impression carries over from the architecture to the organization of the school. Like the building, the organization is tradi t ional . The principal is the business manager, the teachers are organized by departments but teach as individuals in their own classrooms. The students are classif ied by grade. The principal and his assistants keep the school running smoothly; the teachers meet their classes; the students earn the required credits . The atmosphere is tolerant and studious, and the purpose of being at school is seen as qualifying oneself for entering college or getting ready to enter the job market. "Lighthouse" Community The school is located in a middle-class neighbourhood on the south side of the c i ty . The school i t s e l f touches and intermingles with the town. The neighbourhood immediately surrounding the school is made up of families, with most of the parents working in white-collar jobs. Small business owners, trade people, government employees and retirees also l ive in the area. . There are less dramatic ranges of wealth and poverty here than in some other parts of the country. The casual dress of the students minimizes social class dist inctions. The few minority students are Black or Asian, with fewer Native Indians. 57 School Organization The principal of "Lighthouse" is assisted by two vice-principals who are associate leaders. They and the principal share the tasks and responsibil i t ies of administration within the school. However, the principal holds the ultimate authority. The tasks are divided in such a way as to u t i l i ze the sk i l l s of the © members of the partnership. "Complementarity of talents" is the principle adopted at "Lighthouse". The administration has also delegated some supervising authority and administrative powers, including program development and review, to departmental heads. They function as teachers as well as departmental administrators. Including the l ibrary , there are a total of ten departments (Business Education and Home Economics, English, Fine Arts, Music, Industrial Education, Library, Mathematics,. Modern and Classical languages, Science and Social Studies). Such a structure compensates for limitations of the instructional leadership time of senior administrators. There is growing research evidence that the more effective elementary schools are those where administrators take an active role in instructional leadership (Jones, 1988). The situation with respect to senior high school is less clear. Most secondary school administrators report that most of their time is used for non-instructional tasks or purposes. Jones (1988) has suggested that when the department heads take on the role of instructional leader, then programs wi l l be more effective. This also seems to be 58 more acceptable . On the one hand, there i s a prov i s ion of l eadersh ip; on the other hand, th i s leadership has .. come from the expert i se within the department. This type of s tructure appears to be acceptable at "Lighthouse". At "Lighthouse," ,a department head engages in a v a r i e t y of a c t i v i t i e s , inc lud ing (1) s e t t ing objective's for the. department; (2) assessing the appropriateness of the program of s tudies ; (3) developing i n s t r u c t i o n a l plans; (4) a s s i s t i n g i n d i v i d u a l teachers; (5) planning and encouraging innovat ions; (6) maintaining standards; (7) obta in ing the resources that are needed by the department; (8) organis ing the department program; and (9) represent ing the department and advis ing the p r i n c i p a l of needed changes ("Lighthouse" School Handbook 1987/88 : 23). In a d d i t i o n , the department head i s expected to exercise considerable inf luence upon the development of p o l i c i e s for the school . Thus, the admini s tra t ive team cons i s t s of the p r i n c i p a l , two ass i s tant p r i n c i p a l s and ten department heads. There is yet another decis ion-making body, namely the School C o u n c i l . The School Counci l comprises the fo l lowing members : the p r i n c i p a l , two ass i s tant p r i n c i p a l s , ten department heads, the business manager, the head of the s e c r e t a r i a l group, the student counc i l president and two parents . The c o n s t i t u t i o n i s unique i n that t h i s Counci l s o l i c i t s inputs and involvement of representat ives of a l l concerned in the operat ion of "Lighthouse". The p r i n c i p a l , however, i s respons ible for making any f i n a l d e c i s i o n . 59 The School Council meets once every two weeks. The main task of the Council is to set objectives and determine the required fund al location. For example, one important objective in 1986/87 was to reduce class size to give more individual attention to students. In order to do that, the School Council decided to reduce administration and counselling times. This resulted in the administrators and counsellors undertaking some teaching. During the budget preparation time, the. School Council also serves as the budget committee to formulate the budget proposal. General Description of "Lighthouse" This section contains a general description of "Lighthouse" under the headings of staff, budget, student enrolment, control and programs. Staff. The school has a staff of forty-two teachers (including ten department heads), two guidance off icers , one business manager, one l ibrary assistant, one laboratory assistant, and nine secretaries. Most of the teachers are aged over forty and have been with "Lighthouse" for more than ten years. This study includes the interviews with the former principal , the present pr inc ipal , the two assistant principals , nine department heads, one guidance of f icer , the business manager, the l ibrary assistant, the laboratory assistant and twenty-eight teachers. This accounts for 73% of the total staff at "Lighthouse". The turnover of staff since 1979 is considered to be high, particularly during the years 1982 .to 1985. The details are as follows : 60 No of No of Year Staff (In) Staff (Out) 1979-80 to 1981^82 6 13 1982-83 to 1984-85 19 43 1985-86 to 1987-88 7 2 Budget and Student Enrolment. The changes in budget allocation over the last few years are minimal. The school operated with an annual budget of $2.77 mil l ion in 1986-87 for a school population of 1,011 students. This breaks down to $2,774 per student. The teaching salaries accounted for 90 percent of the budget in 1986-87. Like most schools, "Lighthouse" suffered its viciss itudes. In 1986-87-, the school admitted 1,011 students, a drop of thirty percent (30%) compared with the enrolment of 1980-81. The enrolment pattern of the last few years is given below. The changes in cost per student are also indicated based on the budget allocations over the last few years. Cost Per Year Student Enrolment Budget ($) Student ($) 1980/81 1452 2,623,912 1,807 1981/82 1334 2,765,558 2,073 1982/83 1226 2,922,761 2,384 1983/84 1173 2,691,825 2,295 1984/85 1028 2,412,186 2,346 1985/86 1021 2,431,440 2,381 1986/87 1011 2,774,387 2,744 1987/88 1034 2,723,099 2,634 61 Control. "Lighthouse" involves students in setting the rules for behavior in the school and on the playground, and in settl ing disputes. It believes that having students participate in these act iv i t ies encourages them to act responsibly as they become aware of the expectations. "Lighthouse" also rewards students for good behavior, recognizing that positive reinforcement of desirable behavior is often more effective than punishment for poor behavior. Students at "Lighthouse" are assigned to the two assistant principals who act as their advisors on attendance, d isc ipl ine , and scheduling. The assistant principals are also available to parents for discussion related to a l l aspects of their chi ld's school ac t iv i t i e s . Regular class attendance is considered extremely important because of the amount of work covered in class periods and because of the great stress placed upon class discussions and group projects as part of co-operative learning. Students are urged to attend classes regularly and those who have poor attendance records may be asked to withdraw from school ("Lighthouse" Composite High School Handbook, 1987-88: 5). Programs. "Lighthouse" School has tradit ional ly been an academically-oriented school with well-recognized and popular programs in business education and fine arts. There is also a 62 modern technical arts department. The physical education and extra-curricular act iv i t ies are strong in • both the number of participants and the quality of performance. "Lighthouse" maintains a policy of providing a well-balanced program of studies which includes a healthy mix of sports and work at school. Each subject in "Lighthouse" has a credit value based on the guideline that one credit is equal to 25 hours of instruction time. The "Lighthouse" timetable is constructed to ensure a minimum of 125 hours for a 5-credit subject and 75 hours for a 3-credit subject. The total credit value of a l l subjects that may be taken by a student in any year is approximately 40. A l l students, graduating from "Lighthouse" receive a high school diploma upon completion of courses total l ing at least 100 credits , including a minimum of 15 credits in English, 10 credits in Social Studies/Social Science options, 2 credits in Physical Education, 5 credits in Mathematics, 3 credits in Science, and 15 credits in Grade 12 courses including English 30 or 33. The requirements for the advanced diploma include a l l of those requirements as well as successful completion of the following provincial examination subjects : English 30, Social Studies 30, Mathematics 30 and at least one of Biology 30, Chemistry 30, or Physics 30. 63 The strong traditions of academic and co-curricular excellence in "Lighthouse" are i l lustrated in the following achievements :. . ' - fifteen Rhodes scholars, including the f irs t female Rhodes scholar from Alberta; a total of 375 students received Heritage Trust Fund scholarships in the f irs t six years they were offered; - • "Lighthouse" students frequently attain top or near-top averages on provincial diploma examinations; - approximately 70% of "Lighthouse" students continue into post-secondary education; - fifteen consecutive years as c i ty champions in track and f ie ld and twelve consecutive years as c i ty champions in cross-country; - numerous c i ty and provincial championships in other inter-scholastic sports. Approximately one-third of "Lighthouse" graduates go on to university, one-third proceed to another post-secondary inst i tut ion, and one-third enter direct ly into the work force. The number of graduates of "Lighthouse" in 1986-87 who were admitted to university and higher institutions was 15% higher than the number of graduates from other senior high schools in Edmonton. 64 School-Site Decision-Making Project : I n i t i a l Stage Most teachers recalled that in the past,, principals , having l i t t l e say in d i s t r i c t policy, were chosen and rewarded for modelling the superintendent's authority and concern for s tabi l i ty within their school while not challenging i t in the d i s t r i c t . They were not encouraged to innovate or emphasize unique programs. When the concept of SSDM was f i r s t introduced in Edmonton public schools in 1979, teachers basically welcomed the innovation. A few of them shared the view that there was a divergence among•schools in terms of student needs, the expectations of parents, the desires of communities, the talents of staff, and the style of administration. This divergence in needs and desires was coupled with looming financial restraints that made i t imperative for pr ior i t ies to be established in the application of educational resources. The teachers also agreed that such pr ior i t ies should be set by the school i t s e l f . Most teachers also indicated that they witnessed growing involvement in the l i f e of the school, particularly from the Home and School Association. Two parents became representatives in the School Council not long after the implementation of SSDM. Teachers agreed that i t was not logical for the central office to determine the use of resources at the school level . They recalled that certain kinds of materials and equipment were often 65 delivered to the school whether they were needed or not, allegedly in the interests of standardization. SSDM enabled more effective use and better control of resources at the school level . There was, however, apprehension about the value and f l e x i b i l i t y of teachers' involvement in deciding the budget al location, since staff salaries constituted almost 90% of the budget fund. Some perceived i t as a waste of teachers' efforts • to "fight over" only 10% of the budget fund, taking into account the time involved in formulating the budget. On the one hand, some teachers saw the process as a hindrance, as something they had to do for the central office and which would have l i t t l e consequence for themselves. Others wanted to reconceptualize i t as a process which could benefit the school and their department in particular. However, teachers recalled that i n i t i a l l y the school was provided with a generous al location. For a period of two or three years (1979 to 1981), every department was given whatever items were requested. The frustration of long waiting periods for needed materials was soon forgotten. In addition, a carpeted staff room which was well-equipped with refrigerator, standard oven and microwave oven was set up•for the benefit of the staff. 66 During the i n i t i a l years of SSDM, "Lighthouse" operated with 63 teachers for 1,173 students. As the counsellor of the school put i t , '.'There was surely some 'fat' in the school and we were able to put our heads together to look for areas of wastage and to streamline the use of resources." However, since then, the staff strength has been reduced and in the last two years, the school was staffed with 47 teachers for a student population of 1,020. Some teachers disclosed that principal-teacher relations played a significant part in determining the benefits of SSDM. They preferred principals who permitted them to participate in decision-making. They agreed that there were good reasons for increased teacher involvement. These were (1) increased teacher professionalism, (2) decisions being made close to the level of implementation, and (3) teachers being closer to the learning situation. Notwithstanding the receptive attitude towards SSDM held by most of the teachers in "Lighthouse", teachers recalled that i n i t i a l l y there was very l i t t l e involvement by them in decision-making. The interviews with teachers revealed that the former principal (1977-86) played a relat ively insignificant role in imparting the philosophy of SSDM and in getting the involvement of staff in decision-making. She appeared to be "confined to. her office for far too great a proportion of her time." 67 Indications were that the former principal was not much inclined to seize the in i t ia t ive either to consider the innovations in education or to exercise influence over policies and procedures. The general feeling of the teachers was that i f at a l l they were consulted, i t was only as a formality; some changes which took place then were arbitrary and without basis for teaching needs. An interview with the former principal of the "Lighthouse" School provided useful information on the i n i t i a l problems encountered when SSDM was f i r s t implemented. The former principal described the SSDM system as a very conscious move to allocate resources to schools on an equitable basis, "without making them [the schools] jump through centrally imposed hoops to just i fy getting any money at a l l . " She thought SSDM would enhance the school's capability for planning and secure greater involvement of staff, students and the community in the budget planning process. However, the problem was that there was not enough time for involvement to take place. Many teachers were also hesitant to become involved because they saw l i t t l e poss ibi l i ty that their involvement would actually make a difference. Essential ly, teachers were satisfied with the tradit ional system of administrative decision-making and with the decisions * arising from i t . The former principal commented, "Under certain circumstances, teachers wi l l ingly left decisions within the 'zone of acceptance' to administration." 68 She added that, "SSDM at the time was viewed as a formality or an attempt to create the i l lus ion of teacher involvement." Teachers also feared that involvement in school decision-making was not a pathway to col legial respect. Some teachers indicated to her that SSDM meant greater responsibi l i ty , including sharing the blame for bad decisions. It might also, result in the "rubber-stamping1.1 of administrative desires. She confessed that she did not, during the i n i t i a l period, involve teachers too frequently in decision-making. She explained, "Teachers felt that time spent participating in one act ivi ty was time not spent on some other ac t iv i t i e s . For them, time devoted to participating in decision-making processes was time not devoted to teaching act iv i t ies ." According to the former pr inc ipal , not much dissatisfaction among teachers was noticed at that time. "Teachers got almost everything they asked for." The only complaint then, was on the timing for budget preparation. She said, "My teachers and I were unhappy with the fact that schools were required to prepare their budgets at the wrong time of the year. The task of preparing a school's budget for the ensuing September had to begin in February. How could a teacher plan in February for the class she would not even meet unt i l September? How could a high school plan i ts program for next year, 3 months before course registrations have come in? Sometimes we had to re-do the budget total ly in September as everything could change radical ly in September. When this happened, decisions would have to be made so quickly that there was no time for staff involvement." 69 It appears that this procedure and time frame have not been changed. As the former principal pointed out, "There are too many unknown variables in February for meaningful planning to occur." Three or four years after SSDM was implemented, the school was faced with a budget restraint and a decline in the student enrolment. Under the circumstances, the teachers and principal had to decide where cuts would be made and who would be declared surplus. Certain categories of staff been particularly hard hit under SSDM. The former principal explained, "When the squeeze is on, schools and principals were more inclined to cut back oh l ibrary , counselling, or resource room services, in an effort to preserve class sizes and administration time." The former principal also related some "inside" stories of how the schools in Edmonton handled the "surplus" funds. According to her, after the in i t ia t ion of SSDM, some of the schools took a very cautious approach and began salting away reserves for major capital purchases. Others jumped in and committed themselves to technological upgrading or other expensive pr.ojects, sometimes incurring deficits in the process. As restraint began to take hold and allocation became tighter; the cautious schools were able to draw upon their reserves to maintain programs and operations. The less cautious schools, however, suffered the double "hit" of reduced allocations and outstanding def ic i t s . 70 The former principal of the "Lighthouse" School retired from the Edmont on Public School Board in mid-1986 after putting in more than 35 years of education service. Present Situation I n i t i a l l y there were some teachers who did not see increased participation in decision-making as beneficial . This situation today has changed and teachers are more objective in analysing the strengths and weaknesses of SSDM. Most teachers attested that after the present principal assumed duty, budget discussion was done on a very open basis. Everyone was aware of where funds had been channelled. A l l staff have since then been invited to participate in decision-making. The . present pr inc ipal , who was formerly an associate superintendent• with the Edmonton Public School Board, assumed the principalship at "Lighthouse" in 1986. With his numerous years of experience with the central off ice , he has witnessed changes in the Edmonton School Distr ict over the last 10 to 15 years. Philosophy. In explaining the philosophy of SSDM, the present principal stated : 71 "Principals must be able to u t i l i z e the community to provide support for needed changes. They should be ski l led in interpreting to the community the policies prescribed by the Board of Education and central administration. It is essential that they be able to mediate differences of opinion concerning educational matters which exist among those in their d i s t r i c t . The increasing demand for accountability forces principals to provide to the community relevant information concerning educational progress being made by students." The role of a principal had clearly expanded over the years. Besides being an instructional leader and manager of the school, the principal is also required to be an effective l iaison officer between the school and the community i t serves. The present principal said, "After the implementation of SSDM, efforts were made to encourage students to move out into the community to lend their enthusiasm and concern to a l l sorts of projects and organizations. Community groups were also encouraged to participate in the act iv i t ies of the school, either by giving their time or by using school f a c i l i t i e s for community events." Teacher Participation. The present principal indicated that a l l teachers were expected to be involved in a variety of ac t iv i t i e s . For example, i t was made clear to a l l teachers that they were expected to help in extra-curricular ac t iv i t i e s . This requirement was also made clear to newcomers during job interviews. If this requirement troubled the interviewee, he or she was advised 72 immediately to look for another school. The present principal emphasized that the other teachers would resent someone who did not share the load, and they would find means of expressing this resentment. He commented, "We believe our vigorous extra-curricular program is one of the key reasons our school is such a desirable place for students." School Spirit. In "Lighthouse" today, i t is as important for information to flow downwards as i t i s upwards. Individual memos, periodic staff bul let ins , manuals, rules, procedural outlines and current bul let in boards are among the means used. Information flow between the school and the home is also perceived to be important. This includes handbooks for students and parents, report cards, periodic newsletters to parents, regular parent/teacher meetings, bul le t in boards, and diverse act iv i t ies that bring parents into the building during school hours. The principal and staff at "Lighthouse" regard school sp ir i t as an important element for cohesion, and they succeed in fostering i t . The school uses mottos, school symbols, school songs, and other devices to heighten the students' and teachers' sense of col lective identif ication with their school. The athletic act ivi t ies of the school and other efforts of the students and staff that symbolize effectiveness, such as the proportion of the students who win scholarships, are well publicized. 73 Parents and Community Involvement. The Home and School Association is involved in a l l aspects of the school operation. "Lighthouse" also actively pursues total community involvement in the school's ac t iv i t i e s . The determination to secure such involvement was stated in the School Handbook as follows : "Our Home and School Association is a v i t a l part of the school. This close co-operation between home and school enhances the student abi l i ty to take advantage of the educational opportunities available at school. The school is inviting more involvement and input in such matters as determining the* direction the school should take, budget preparation, l ia ison with other community agencies and organizations, and assistance with student, staff and parent ac t iv i t i e s ." (1987 : 23) Student Achievement. As stated ear l i er , "Lighthouse" has always been able to obtain high academic achievement. When asked whether SSDM had improved student achievement, the teachers interviewed stated that there might be some correlation between SSDM and student achievement or teacher's job satisfaction but there was no empirical evidence to prove i t . They recognized, however, the impact of SSDM on raising the quality of education through (1) better quality of materials; (2) faster speed in getting materials and equipment; and (3) improved efficiency in meeting student needs. The assertion that the "school was in a better position to deploy resources in achieving its goal" was recounted by the teachers. On the subject of student achievement, the principal commented that there was no systematic study which examines the 74 effects of school-based budgeting on learning outcomes for students. There was, however, information collected by the central office on the Alberta Education Achievement Tests and the Canadian Tests of Basic S k i l l s . The differences between d i s tr i c t averages and the provincial averages for these examinations appear to indicate that the Edmonton School Distr ict achieves more favourable results on the whole.. The present principal added, "Under SSDM, the school could move the resources around to respond more•sensitively and quickly to the needs of i ts students. This should have a positive impact on their learning outcomes." One example quoted was the recent decision to place more emphasis on the problems and needs of students from the lower academic achievement group. In another case, the school decided to monitor more closely the attendance of students and to contact parents promptly should any student be found absent from classes. Following this decision, an amount of $20,000 was expended to ins ta l l telephones in a l l classrooms in order to fac i l i ta te contacts with parents. Autonomy. The degree of autonomy teachers enjoy at . "Lighthouse" is reflected in the fact that teachers develop their own courses, create units within courses, and make decisions regarding texts and supplemental materials. These act ivi t ies are in striking contrast to many other d i s tr ic t s where texts, curriculum guides, measures of student performance, and even the pacing of courses are the product of district-wide regulations or pol ic ies . 75 However, some teachers claimed that, schools in Edmonton did not real ly enjoy very much autonomy. One example referred to was that in early 1987, a mandate was issued by the central office prohibiting smoking in schools, effective from a specified date. They felt that this was too abrupt. It caused many teachers who smoke to become disgruntled. They thought that the central office should have advised schools to discuss a suitable policy and to propose how best to implement a non-smoking policy. Some teachers also felt threatened by the principal 's decision-making autonomy over "hiring and f i r ing ." They perceived that this authority could be abused. Major Outcomes Of SSDM In "Lighthouse" The principal asserted that people would be prepared to l ive with a decision i f they had a part in making i t . Decisions affecting the act iv i t ies at school would be far better made at school. He cited a few important decisions more col lect ively at the school level and commented that these decisions could not have been made i f the school had s t i l l been under the centralized system. These decisions which have brought about very positive outcomes are i l lustrated below. 76 Reduction in Class Size. In 1987, the school decided to reduce class size to fac i l i tate individual attention to students. The pr inc ipal , as well as his two assistants, had to undertake some teaching hours. The consequence of this was the provision of two additional teachers for a smaller class size but a slight increase in administrative workload for the department heads. The principal observed that this decision was working out very well. It reinforced the belief that SSDM had made i t possible for schools to respond to the needs of their students in many different ways. As stated in "Meeting the Needs of Students". "Some schools have chosen to operate with smaller classes by having teachers teach for 1400 minutes per week. Others have chosen to reduce the amount of instructional time by organizing with correspondingly larger classes." (Edmonton Public Schools Staff Bul let in , Feb 26, 1982). Savings on U t i l i t i e s . "Lighthouse" managed to save $26,000 in 1987 on u t i l i t y consumption through a joint decision and effort. The funds from energy savings were used to enhance the school's educational ac t iv i t i e s . Enhancement in Computer S k i l l s . Courses on computer sk i l l s were offered in "Lighthouse." These included the Computing Science Program in the Business Education Department and an Electronics Program featuring work on computers. "Lighthouse" stressed the need for a l l students to develop basic computer s k i l l s , sk i l l s that would support their career plans or provide a suitable background for 77 post-secondary study. "Lighthouse" subsequently decided that students should be offered the opportunity to experience the world of computers in ful ly equipped microcomputer labs. Resources were therefore made available to set up three labs with IBM PC and Apple computers. The plan was realized over the last two years. Comprehensive Textbook Rental and Instructional Materials Fee Plan. This unique plan has been implemented at "Lighthouse" for a few years. Under the plan, a single fee ($42 at the point of study) provides a student with access to a wide range of textbooks. This substantially reduces the overall cost of expendable school supplies to the individual student. This arrangement might not be feasible under centralized school management. Library Media Centre. Another unique feature of "Lighthouse" was the setting-up of the l ibrary media centre (LMC). The principal and teachers in "Lighthouse" shared the same vision that a well-equipped l ibrary and media centre would bring about better quality of education.. Resources and efforts have since been devoted to this area. The centre is most effectively used by individuals or small groups pursuing assignments or . projects created by their teachers or following their own interests. There are two special roles in the LMC's program : (1) instruction in the development of research s k i l l s is given both formally (specific classes dealing with the use of specialized handbooks, dictionaries, almanacs, 78 encyclopedias, periodical indexes, and pamphlets f i l e s ) , and informally; (2) the individual remedial specialist student can use slide/tape, f i lm, or video cassettes learning kits that deal with aspects such as the structure of the biological science or the improvement of writing s k i l l s . Academic Challenge Program (ACP). This program is designed for academically high achieving students who wish to engage in a vigorous academic program of studies. At the high school leve l , the ACP courses are scheduled as a group of fine academic subjects at the grades 10, 11 and 12 levels and are integrated with. elective courses designated to expand students' interests. The ACP courses are offered at an accelerated pace, and in greater depth. Formal instruction in logic, research s k i l l s , divergent thinking, questioning, and problem-solving techniques form part of the program. A matrix developed by Edmonton Public School consultants for testing talented students is employed to identify students with exceptional academic a b i l i t y . This matrix consists of the measurement of (a) intel lectual a b i l i t y , (b) academic achievement, and (c) teacher rating of aspects such as perserverance, creat iv i ty , commitment, and self-motivation. The principal and teachers at "Lighthouse" share the philosophy that each student is an individual and there is a need to vary teaching to suit individual student needs. They agree that i t is their educational responsibility to launch the ACP program. The ACP program, which was designed to 79 provide an enriched learning experience for academically talented students, was f irs t offered in 1987-88 and has since received very positive support from parents and students! These examples demonstate that resources can be more creatively deployed under SSDM to achieve the goals and needs of the school. The principal .of "Lighthouse" expressed the hope that teachers who were under the SSDM system would take advantage of their greater degree of autonomy in the organization for instruction and make that autonomy even more signif icant. 80 CHAPTER FIVE SCHOOL-SITE DECISION-MAKING : A DISCUSSION This research study invest igated the nature , o b j e c t i v e s , adoption, operat ion and perceived outcomes of SSDM i n two .Edmonton publ ic schools . This chapter attempts to address each of the questions to which th i s study sought answers. These are as follows : (1) Is there any evidence that SSDM has promoted (a) leadership development; (b) greater p a r t i c i p a t i o n in the decision-making process at a lower l e v e l ; (c) an increased sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ? (2) What evidence i s there , i f any, that SSDM has been a c o n t r i b u t i n g factor for the fol lowing expected outcomes : (a) r a i s i n g the achievement l eve l s of students; (b) r e t a i n i n g students in school for longer periods of time; (c) increas ing the speed with which decis ions can be made concerning l o c a l i ssues; (d) increas ing adminis trat ion e f f i c i e n c y and p r o d u c t i v i t y ; 81 (e) keeping unit costs of education within budget guidelines? (3) Has SSDM enhanced the educational leadership role of the school principals? (4) What do principals and teachers see as negative aspects of SSDM? Are the gains of SSDM worth the costs (ie are the costs of SSDM balanced by enhanced effectiveness/efficiencies/ satisfaction)? (5) In what ways have SSDM procedures aided or hindered the process of service/cost reductions which became necessary as a result of reduced funding to Edmonton schools? For the purpose of data analysis, these research questions are grouped under the following issues : (1) Has SSDM promoted leadership development and greater teacher involvement? (2) Has SSDM contributed to a higher student achievement or to retaining students for a longer period of time? Has SSDM increased satisfaction levels among principals , teachers, students and their parents? Has SSDM brought about administrative efficiency? (3) What are the perceived costs and benefits of SSDM? Do they balance each other? 82 . The findings from this study are discussed with reference to a number of other research findings related to SSDM. They are organized under the headings of (1) leadership challenge and development, (2) expected outcomes in achievement, satisfaction and efficiency, and (3) costs and benefits : an analysis. LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE AND DEVELOPMENT With the decentralization of budgeting and decision-making power to the school leve l , principals have become more v is ib le and accountable to the central office and their local community. Their role has become more d i f f i c u l t than i t was formerly; at the same time, a vast body of learned opinion attests to the cruc ia l i ty of principals in developing effective schools. From the interviews with the two associate superintendents in charge of Strathearn and "Lighthouse" and the respective principals , i t was gathered that the role of principals could be divided into two broad categories of expectations : one group may be regarded as professional and the other, administrative. 83 Professional Expectations On the professional aspect, principals were expected to be educational leaders who would act as catalysts in improving both curriculum and pedagogical techniques. Teachers also expected principals to function as providers of resources needed for teaching and of conditions required for satisfactory learning, such, as cleanliness, proper heating and adequate l ighting. Principals were also expected to encourage the involvement of teachers in decision-making, to gain the commitment of others to the SSDM philosophy, and to function as change agents. In this latter aspect, principals were expected to deal effectively with resistance to change. Under SSDM, i t - was also important for principals to establish conditions which would improve the morale of both their students and teachers. Principals had to be sensitive to shifts in community expectations. They were expected to possess sufficient inter-personal sk i l l s to be able to communicate with community representatives and parents and to jo int ly resolve any d i f f i cu l t i e s that arose. 84 Administrative Expectations From an administrative point of view, principals were expected to be plant managers as well as financial or business managers. They were expected to operate the plant e f f ic ient ly , to supervise non-instructional staff (janitors, secretaries, and aides) and to deal with their selection, evaluation, and dismissal. In their role as business managers, they had to supply information and make periodical reports to the central off ice. They also had to control the expenditure of a l l school, funds. Thus, financial management sk i l l s were expected of principals in handling a multitude of financial"transactions. Leadership Challenge and Development The expectations of principals can be simply stated but they cannot so simply performed. The principals now must work with new values, a higher number of decision makers, and an enlarged set of management decisions and responsibi l i t ies . They are no longer able to see themselves as the figure supported, and at times protected, by central office rules and regulations. Instead, they must be a coordinator of a number of people representing different interest groups among the school community, who together determine the direction the school is to take. Principals now become relocated from the apex of their small pyramids to the center of a network of human relationships; they function as change agents and resources to their staff (Caldwell, 1980). The expanded role for principals , 85 together with the resistance of teachers to change and the involvement of teachers in decision-making, constituted a great challenge to the principal 's leadership and promoted leadership development. It was observed in this study that three of the four principals interviewed seemed to have been capable of meeting the challenge well with acceptable leadership styles. (It will- be recalled that the fourth principal asked to relinquish his principalship.) Expanded Roles for Principals . The impact of the decentralization policy is perhaps most clearly seen in the new conception of the principalships in Edmonton. The principal's role has become even more complicated and d i f f i cu l t under SSDM, as a principal is expected to be not only an instructional leader but also a business manager. The d i f f i cu l ty for the principal in balancing the two expected roles is not new. It has "long been a source of contention among researchers and practitioners alike" (Smyth, 1980). Musella (1982) did not refer to the principal's role as manager. He argued that "the principal is an instructional leader -one whose performance is assertive and achievement-oriented." School success is discussed in terms of the leadership of the principal whose f irs t objective is to improve student achievement by improving instruction and the quality of teaching (McCurdy, 1983). 86 Instructional leadership is perceived by both writers as a key component. Most teachers in this study expressed concern that their principals seemed to perform a bigger role as school manager rather than as an instructional leader. The principals' time and energy were devoted more to day-to-day administrative tasks, with most act iv i t ies centering around financial matters. Teachers were concerned that these administrative tasks were undertaken at the expense of the principals' instructional leadership time. Teachers frequently remarked that "principals were hard pressed for time in meeting the deadlines set for budget proposals and school pr ior i t i e s ." An example of what teachers said included : "What we discussed at the staff meeting were mainly financial matters. We spent a great length of time on how and where to cut down expenses in order to have sufficient funding for a new program." Teachers from Strathearn seemed to have a greater concern over the fact that their principals did not devote adequate time to instructional issues. Unlike their counterparts from "Lighthouse" who had department heads, Strathearn teachers worked direct ly with their pr incipal . They had no head of department to consult on instructional matters. While teachers of "Lighthouse" desired to have a more col legial educational leader, their department heads could, in fact, exercise leadership in their , own instructional areas. 87 An expanded role usually generates more stress. Three of the four principals interviewed described in detail the challenges, d i f f i cu l t i e s and stress that came along with tbe changing nature of their roles. The former principal of. "Lighthouse", for example, commented, "The role of principal had become far too d i f f i c u l t . . We were expected to be 'Jack of a l l trades'. We felt very stressful most of the time. In my case, I had to stay back late in school frequently in order to finish my work." Moreover, these principals felt that the managerial responsibi l i t ies given - to oversee budgeting, maintenance, caretaking and to interact more with the community - had preempted time from their work as a principal teacher. They stated that i t was not possible to have enough time to perform both aspects of their role equally well . The present principal (1985 to-date) of Strathearn stated, "I am ful ly aware that my teachers wish to spend more time with me on instructional issues. I believe one day wtien I am more familiar and eff icient with my administrative work, I wi l l be able to have more time on curriculum matters." The present principal of "Lighthouse" did not share the same concern. He had department heads who could perform this leadership function. As one of the larger schools in Edmonton, "Lighthouse" offered a broader curriculum and encompassed a wider array of 88 goals. The present principal seemed to believe that the instructional management role had to be enacted by department heads. This is similar to the point of view held by Jones (1988 : 6) : "The departmental organization common to most secondary schools further removes principals from instructional programs... . Given the average number of teachers in a secondary school faculty, i t is unlikely that principals are able to devote much time to this endeavour [in improving instructional practices]." Resistance to Change. Resistance to change is invariably identified in l iterature as the c r i t i c a l problem of the change process. Boyd and Crowson (1981) began their recent state-of-the-art review by noting that "public schools have become notorious for their ab i l i ty to resist change and innovation." It is suggested that schools have a refractory character - that their organizational nature makes them innately resistant to change (Hurn, 1978). This study revealed similar findings at both the senior high school and the community school. Teachers, particularly at Strathearn school, resisted change during the i n i t i a l stage, and perceived that SSDM was launched with considerable haste, leaving them uncertain about their role in the change. Moreover, the advantages of decentralization were at no time communicated to teachers in sufficient detail to enable them to understand ful ly and accept the new system. Teachers felt comfortable with the old 89 system, though they often experienced frustration in waiting for teaching equipment and materials for their programs. Thus, teachers experienced fear and anxiety about the "unknown." This finding agrees with Bartlett and Kayser (1973 : 375) who related role ambiguity to resistance in observing that "people - alone or in groups - do not resist change per se. What they resist is the uncertainty conjured up by change." Teachers also realized that their principals were not prepared adequately for the change. "It was l ike the blind leading the bl ind." This was a typical quote from many teachers. Teachers at "Lighthouse" appeared to have fewer complaints about the early period. This could be due to the fact that the allocation of funds to their school was seen as generous. The frustration of long waiting periods for needed materials was removed. Most teachers at "Lighthouse" supported the underlying bel ief of SSDM that i t was not logical for the central office to determine the resource needs of each school. They believed that decisions should be made by those who were to be affected by those decisions. However, teachers were skeptical about the value of their involvement in deciding the budget al location. For example, a few teachers held the bel ief that since staff salaries constituted almost ninety percent of the budget fund, very l i t t l e was. available for discretionary use. 90 In conclusion, there were no overt acts of resistance. For example, no teacher refused to be involved or attend meetings. There was no boycott. In general, teachers went along with the new system even though they grumbled much of the time. It should be noted that the second principal of Strathearn was most uncomfortable with the change. He felt pressured to involve teachers in decision-making before they were real ly ready to do so. He also resented being made accountable for "productivity" when he had not had the opportunity to select teachers, and pupils during the i n i t i a l period. Teacher Involvement in Decision-Making and Principal 's Leadership Styles. In educational organizations, evidence has been found of a strong desire by teachers to achieve greater control over decision-making (March, 1981). Some researchers, l ike Alutto and Belasco (1972), Knoop and O'Reilly (1976) and Crockenburg and Clark (1979) have warned, however, that the desire to participate is not universal and the areas of desired participation are confined in some instances to instructional issues. Alutto and Belasco specified three levels of participation : deprivation (participating less than desired), equilibrium (participating as much as desired), and saturation (participating more than desired). 91 This study revealed that there was no evidence of decisional deprivation at either of the schools. While teachers were not left out of the decision-making process, they most certainly did not welcome too much participation. This was evident from their complaints that too much time was devoted to participation in decision-making. They were also concerned that SSDM had diverted human resources from the main purpose of the school - the teaching/learning process - to administration. However, a few teachers at "Lighthouse" expressed their desire to have more participation than they now enjoyed. Five out of seven of these teachers were not involved in any of the school standing committees. This probably explains why they had such desires. The findings reported above agree with what was found in the study of Alutto and Belasco who wrote : "It is propably more reasonable to assume that not a l l segments of the school population wi l l be equally desirous of increased participation in organizational decision-making. Rather, some teachers may desire more participation than they now enjoy, others may desire less, and s t i l l others may desire neither more or less" (1972 : 28). Teachers i n i t i a l l y were most concerned with those areas which were dis t inct ly instructional rather than administrative. They became more involved with budgetary decision-making when they discovered the relationship between the budget and what was possible for them to do in their classrooms. 92 It was noted that teachers from Strathearn tended somewhat to experience "decisional saturation." Probably owing to a smaller school size, teachers inevitably became involved in every aspect of the school's decisions. A study by Conway (1986) pointed out that teachers' participation in decision-making can be overdone and frequent decisional saturation tended to increase teacher dissatisfaction. The "decisional saturation" situation in Strathearn, however, was not frequent enough to • cause any dissatisfaction. There was no significant difference between the male and female teachers with respect to their desires to participate. This is different from the study of Alutto and Belasco who found that only a small proportion of teachers - typical ly young, male and ambitious - had desires to participate actively in decision-making. Many wished simply to teach and study and preferred to leave administration to others. Teachers' involvement in decision-making is a complex phenomenon. Involvement i t s e l f can range from the mere presentation of an opinion, where the final authority rests elsewhere, to membership in the group which exercises f inal control over an issue (Alutto & Belasco, 1972 : 30). The degree of teacher involvement is also s ignif icantly associated with the leadership styles of their principals . As Young implied in his study on school-based budgeting 93 and principals' leadership styles, the degree of subordinates' involvement depends, to a large extent, on the leadership style of the leader. He wrote, "Occupying a higher position in the hierarchy', the principals had adopted a protective stance toward the teachers, shielding them from some aspects of the budgeting process" (1986 : 8). When SSDM was f irs t implemented, no single method of involving teachers in the decision-making process was recommended by the central off ice . Principals could choose a consultative or col legial form of decision-making for their schools (Caldwell, 1979). Basically, a principal has three choices of leadership style (Likert , 1967; Vroom & Yetton, 1973). A principal employing an authoritarian leadership style makes unilateral decisions with only an occasional effort to seek teachers' opinions and ideas. Under a consultative leadership style, the principal consults with teachers but ordinari ly makes the decisions himself. A principal employing a group leadership style involves teachers ful ly in a l l decisions related to their work. Three out of the four principals in this study appeared to have employed a consultative leadership style. In other words, they were responsible for making the final decisions, although their teachers were consulted with and were involved in decision-making processes. The present principal of Strathearn, however, was the 94 only principal whose style appeared to l i e at the group end of a consultative-group continuum in leadership style. Besides her own. personal bel ief , a re lat ive ly smaller staff strength in the school was probably the reason for her" being more inclined to a group leadership style. A similar finding was reported by Young who found that most principals "were using a predominantly consultative leadership style . In other words, the principals sought input from the teachers but reserved for themselves the right to make decisions regarding the educational programs of their schools and the allocation of funds to these programs." Young further commented that, " . . . i t is evident that school-based budgeting can be implemented with the principal's use of a consultative leadership style. This is what appears to be happening at present. However, the f u l l potential of school-based budgeting is more l ike ly to be realized through a leadership style which allows greater collaboration among principals and teachers" (1986 : 7). The present principal of "Lighthouse" explained,' "If I involve my.teachers in everything and don't make my own decisions, i t may create an impression that I do not know my job and I cannot make the decisions that I am paid to do." He explained further that he did not have doubts about the ab i l i ty of teachers to make wise 95 program decisions, but the teachers themselves gave no indication of desiring a role greater than that of providing input for the principal's decision-making. One interesting finding was the "adaptable" leadership style employed by the second principal (1980-85) of Strathearn and the f i r s t principal (up. to 1985) of "Lighthouse". They reported that during the i n i t i a l periods, they adopted a more authoritarian leadership style as they perceived that the teachers were not interested in spending too much time and effort on management decisions. As time progressed, teachers became more appreciative of the objectives of SSDM and were more receptive to participative decision-making. These factors suggested the wisdom of shifting from an authoritarian to a consultative leadership style. EXPECTED OUTCOMES IN ACHIEVEMENT, SATISFACTION AND EFFICIENCY The expectations of SSDM as held by the school d i s tr i c t were indicated in a policy handbook (1979) and the various manuals for school budgeting and accounting. A few i l lus trat ive expectations are given below : 96 (1) To cut down waste of . resources through more e f f e c t i v e planning at school l e v e l as decisions should be far better when made at school than elsewhere; (2) To bring about better control of resources; (3) To s h i f t the emphasis from "how much money had been spent" to "how much money should be spent", taking into account the scarce resources a v a i l a b l e . The resources available should be directed to meet the perceived needs; (4) To bring about a change i n management s t y l e from authoritarian management to p a r t i c i p a t i v e management; (5) To bring about accountability through p a r t i c i p a t o r y decision-making because people f e e l accountable and responsible for decisions made with t h e i r involvement; and (6) To bring about more educational innovations with the involvement of teachers, parents and students. The expected outcomes of SSDM as reported i n current l i t e r a t u r e include (1) higher student achievement (Crockenberg & Clark, 1979; Caldwell & Spinks, 1988); (2) greater f l e x i b i l i t y i n school management (Caldwell, 1977 and Seward, 1975); (3) more 97 opportunities for innovation (Mintzberg, 1983; Moch & Morse, 1977); (4) increasing principals' and teachers' job satisfaction (Steers, 1977 and Holdaway, 1987). The actual outcomes of SSDM are discussed below to examine i f they are congruent with the original expectations for SSDM. The discussions are organized under the headings of (1) student achievement; (2) student retention level; (3) curriculum f l e x i b i l i t y and innovation; (4) satisfaction level; and (5) administrative efficiency. S t u d e n t A c h i e v e m e n t The impact of SSDM on the .learning outcome of Edmonton students could not be ascertained since no information on student results was collected before SSDM to enable a comparative study to be made. This finding was also reported by Brown : "Unfortunately, evidence on changes in learning outcomes was not available from Edmonton. There are no yearly examinations. , mandated and no results were available to bridge the years before and after school-based management was instituted" (1987 : 27). When asked whether SSDM had improved student achievement, the teachers at the two schools studied stated that there might be some correlation between SSDM and student achievement,' but there was no empirical evidence to prove i t . However, the quality of education was perceived to be higher since there was (1) provision of better 98 materials; (2) expediency in obtaining materials and equipment; and (3) a better match between programs and student needs. This perception is similar to that of Caldwell and Spinks who commented that SSDM with "budgeting as well as educational planning may enhance the quality of teaching and learning" (1988 : 223). It is noted that research studies on the link between SSDM and student achievement seem to have provided mixed results . Crockenberg and Clark (1979) found that student achievement was positively correlated with teacher participation' in decision-making. Conway (1984) argued that under SSDM, students' "attitudes toward school may be more positive, but test performance does not appear to be affected." Strathearn and "Lighthouse" teachers, however, attested that students' involvement in school matters such as student- d i sc ip l ine , time-table scheduling, budgeting and curriculum had not only reduced their feeling of alienation but also brought about a positive effect on their learning. In order to have a better picture of the student achievement leve l , the Edmonton d i s t r i c t has init iated comparative studies of student results with regard to the following exams/tests : (1) International Baccalaureate examinations (comparing d i s t r i c t and world averages); (2) Alberta Education Achievement Tests (comparing d i s t r i c t and provincial averages); and 99 (3) Alberta Education Diploma Examination (comparing d i s t r i c t and provincial averages). In the 1986 series, the d i s t r i c t average on the International Baccalaureate examinations was higher than the world average, for a l l seven courses. With the exception of History and Biology in 1984, the d i s t r i c t average .has been higher than the world average for a l l subjects tested over the last three-year period. The 1987 Alberta Education Achievement Tests in grade 3 Science, grade 6 Mathematics, and grade 9 Social Studies were administered to students aross the province. The averages obtained by d i s t r i c t students were signif icantly below the provincial averages for grade 3 Science and grade 9 Social Studies, and not s ignif icantly different from the provincial average for grade 6 Mathematics. A further analysis of results showed that the averages obtained by d i s t r i c t students in these subjects were s ignif icantly higher than the provincial averages in 1983, 1984 and 1985. The drop in results occurred only after 1986. The Alberta Education grade 12 diploma examinations were administered to students who had completed the diploma examination courses. In the 1988 administration, the d i s t r i c t average was lower than the provincial average (by 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent) for a l l courses except English 33 (0.2 per cent higher) and Physics 30 r 100 (1.0 per cent higher). The d i s t r i c t average has been higher than the provincial average over the last 4 years (1984-87) in Social Studies 30, Mathematics 30, Biology 30 and Physics 30. A general summation of these results has been provided to the principals . It is noted that starting from 1986, the results of the Alberta Education Achievement Tests and the Alberta Education Diploma Examination have registered a drop. Plans have been formulated by the d i s t r i c t to further enhance student achievement. It should be pointed out that except for the principals , the teachers appeared to be unaware of the existence of the comparative results as none of them was able to cite the findings of these results when commenting on the impact of SSDM on student achievement. There appears a need to keep teachers informed of such important information. The students of the two schools studied were found to be achieving excellent results . In 1987, Strathearn students at the year 6 level performed extremely well, with 83 percent meeting the grade 6 benchmark for the system in Language Arts, and 73 percent meeting the benchmark in Social Studies. Seventy percent of the students met the grade 9 benchmark for Language Arts and 72 percent met the benchmark in Science. "Lighthouse" especially is noted for 101 its academic excellence with, i ts students attaining top or near-top averages on provincial diploma examinations every year. Based on the findings described above, i t is not possible to conclude a relationship between SSDM and student achievement in this study. Although the teachers and principals claim that a better quality of education has been provided by the Edmonton d i s t r i c t schools, there is no evidence to support such a contention. One senior administrator at the Edmonton central office held the view that since the "output change" is an important indicator for measuring the effects of SSDM, i t is desirable to "build a mechanism to measure learning changes before and after SSDM." Distr icts that have plans to implement SSDM should take into account this requirement. Student Retention Level One of the specific questions addressed in this study was to establish i f SSDM was a contributing factor for retaining.students in school for longer periods of time. This, however, was not stated as one of the d i s t r i c t ' s expected outcomes. 102 The two schools in this study faced a sharp decline in enrolment over the last few years, due mainly to a high transciency rate of families, and in the case of "Lighthouse," a rapid development of the town. The overall student enrolment in Strathearn dropped from 385 in 1980-81 to 222 in 1987-88. The enrolment in "Lighthouse" stabil ized at 1000 for the last four years, but the school used to register 1500 students. It should be noted that an open boundary system was also implemented in the d i s t r i c t alongside with SSDM. Students in the d i s t r i c t are free to choose the school they wish to attend, without any boundary res tr ic t ion . As a result , schools have to compete for students since a higher enrolment would result in a higher budget al location. Various promotional strategies have been adopted by the two schools to secure more students and to retain existing students in the school. With the given circumstances, the relation between SSDM and student retention level could not be established in this study. 103 Curriculum F l e x i b i l i t y and Innovation One of the d i s t r i c t ' s objectives of SSDM was to provide schools with greater f l e x i b i l i t y i n developing t h e i r i n s t r u c t i o n a l programs. In Brown's (1987) study, one respondent f e l t that d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n had a general c a t a l y t i c e f f e c t and infused new ideas into the school. This was evident from the innovation of Strathearn and "Lighthouse" i n (1) o f f e r i n g programs to better meet the needs of th e i r students and l o c a l p r i o r i t i e s (eg academic challenge and extended French programs); (2) deciding the required texts and supplemental materials at school l e v e l ; (3) providing s p e c i a l f a c i l i t i e s to enhance learning outcome; (4) reducing class size to f a c i l i t a t e i n d i v i d u a l attention; and (5) h i r i n g additional personnel to achieve a desirable teacher-student r a t i o . The evidence indicated that SSDM had provided opportunities and f l e x i b i l i t y for schools to be more innovative i n program planning. Schools were able to make and carry out decisions which might not have been possible under.more c e n t r a l i z e d management. This finding supports the studies of Seward (1975) and Moch and Morse (1977). Seward (1975), a f t e r comparing c e n t r a l i z e d and decentralized budeting in two sim i l a r school d i s t r i c t s in C a l i f o r n i a , .concluded that there was s i g n i f i c a n t l y greater expenditure d i v e r s i t y within budget categories i n the system with school-based budgeting. 'Moch and Morse (1977) argued that decentralized organizations are more innovative' than, c e n t r a l i z e d ones. 104 One of the unique features found i n the Edmonton SSDM system i s the f l e x i b i l i t y of carrying forward surpluses and d e f i c i t s for the t o t a l school budget. In 1986-87, $2.8 m i l l i o n i n surplus funds were c a r r i e d forward by Edmonton schools. In previous years, the following amounts were c a r r i e d forward : $3.4 m i l l i o n in 1980-81; $3.4 m i l l i o n i n 1981-82; $4.1 m i l l i o n i n 1982-83; $3.8 m i l l i o n i n 1983-84; $2.1 . m i l l i o n i n 1984-85; and $390,000 in 1985-86 (Superintendent's Memo No 7, 1987). The Superintendent of Schools indicated that "many of our colleagues from other school d i s t r i c t s are surprised that this concept has a c t u a l l y been put into p r a c t i c e . " e By allowing schools to carry forward surpluses and d e f i c i t s , the d i s t r i c t enables schools to make more responsible decisions about how and when funds should be spent. Such a system of operation can only work where "there i s a good working r e l a t i o n s h i p between the trustees, the administration, and the schools and t h e i r communities." The Superintendent of Schools remarked, "This past year has shown us that such a r e l a t i o n s h i p c e r t a i n l y exists within our d i s t r i c t . In a time when funds were cut back by the province, our board could e a s i l y have decided to 'confiscate' the surplus funds. Our trustees chose not to do t h i s because our schools are managing funds for the most e f f e c t i v e service to our students." 105 School d i s tr ic t s which are interested in implementing SSDM may want to consider this unique feature of the Edmonton system. Satisfaction Level Among Teachers and Principals One of the d i s t r i c t ' s pr ior i t ies for the last two years has been to enhance staff satisfaction (Edmonton Experience II 1987 : 49) . It is generally assumed that innovation wi l l not happen i f principals and teachers do not perceive a reasonable level of job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is "the pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one's job as achieving or fac i l i ta t ing one's values" (Locke, 1969). Satisfaction Level Among Teachers. The feedback on staff satisfaction level is being monitored yearly through an attitude survey which was described in Chapter Two. An analysis of the 1987 staff attitude survey shows that satisfaction among staff has been fa l l ing over the last two years. The results are given below. Satisfaction Level 1986 to 1987 . 1982 to 1987* Increased Satisfaction 60% 70% No change . . 13% 11% Decreased Satisfaction 27% 19% (* No survey was administered in 1984.) Areas of decrease in levels of satisfaction included support from the superintendent of schools and associate superintendents, and fair compensation. 106 It i s regrettable that data on teachers alone are not avai l a b l e as the attitude survey combined both teaching and non-teaching s t a f f (at ce n t r a l office.and schools). However, these r e s u l t s represent the input of two-thirds of the teachers'. Thus, i t can be assumed that the s a t i s f a c t i o n l e v e l among teachers has been f a l l i n g over the l a s t two years. Because i t was not possible, for reasons of c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y , to study data from the two schools, i t i s impossible to es t a b l i s h i f the decline in the s a t i s f a c t i o n l e v e l i s to be found in these two schools. It i s also not possible, using this case-study method, to determine i f this decline i s a di r e c t r e s u l t of SSDM. . However, the findings of thi s study may shed some l i g h t on teachers' s a t i s f a c t i o n . While none of the teachers interviewed expressed a l o t of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n , the majority of the teachers did report work-related s t r e s s . The main source of stress seemed to come from SSDM i t s e l f . SSDM, with the need for many meetings, was perceived to be very time-consuming. The complaints made frequently by teachers were, "Our involvement in meetings i s excessive!" and "We seem to be forever entering and leaving the meeting room." Teachers were concerned that because of the time taken up with meetings and p a r t i c i p a t i o n , they had less time for t h e i r students. This r e s u l t supports the findings of Burke (1981) and Conway (1984). Burke investigated 1.7 school d i s t r i c t s and found no s i g n i f i c a n t r e l a t i o n s h i p s among elementary and secondary school 107 teachers between satisfaction and either formal or informal participation. Conway concluded that one out of three empirical studies did not confirm the relationship between satisfaction and teacher participation in decision-making. Moreover, the expanded role of teachers to assume more responsibil ity for "public relations" and extra-curricular act iv i t ies was considered by most to be very taxing on their energy levels . Teachers felt that too much time and energy was being diverted from their role as professionals to administrative and record-keeping tasks. It was observed that teachers' perception of job satisfaction could be affected by their frustration in recent years with budget restraint . SSDM was instituted at the time when more funds were available. But since then, the d i s t r i c t has experienced a financial cut-back and a decrease in purchasing power. Teachers often complained that their departments "spread themselves too thin." They felt that they were being asked to "make do" with less and less, but at the same time they were being asked to "improve performance." Teachers might have confused their frustration with budget restraint with frustration over the SSDM system. 108 Despite a l l these reasons for dissatisfaction, most teachers in this study did derive a lot of satisfaction from their work. In fact, teachers in this study were found to be motivated and enthusiastic in performing their jobs. Teachers from "Lighthouse" were proud of the fact that their school, which was well known for i ts high academic achievement, had maintained a good reputation over the last 15 years. Several teachers indicated that "Lighthouse" would do just as well without SSDM. "We are motivated arid we work hard in order to maintain our school's reputation." Working with students was cited overwhelmingly by the teachers in this study as being the major source of their satisfaction. While this particular response is consistent with the finding of Holdaway's study of job satisfaction of classroom teachers in Alberta (1975-76), i t contradicts the study of Alutto and Belasco (1973) who concluded that teachers derived a lot of satisfaction from participation. It would be informative i f there could be a study comparing satisfaction levels of Edmonton teachers with those of teachers in non-SSDM d i s t r i c t s . Satisfaction Level Among Principals. Three of the four principals in this study reported a higher level of job satisfaction after- the introduction of SSDM. This finding is consistent with that of Alexandruk, who wrote, 109 "The level of satisfaction among principals is greater than the level of satisfaction among teachers on both the school and d i s t r i c t dimensions" (1985 : 135). Similar to the study of Jankovic (1983), principals in this study reported that SSDM, with the new one-line authority structure, had reduced principals' experiences of stress because of reduced ambiguity in< the role of, the principal and in the relationship between the principal and central office on decision-making. The present principal of Strathearn highlighted the difference in decision-making before and after the one-line authority structure as follows : " . . . I remember working as a beginning principal and often cal l ing a neighbouring principal and saying that I have this problem and who do I phone? . . . Now, working with one area superintendent . . . . you know exactly what you can go to him with and he is there within an hour i f you need him . . . " The former principal of "Lighthouse" explained that prior to the introduction of the one-line authority structure, she encountered conflicts with central office administrators as a result of the ambiguous relationships between central office and principals . Other aspects of SSDM that reduced principals' experiences of stress included (1) the removal of many constraints to school-level decision-working; and (2) the increased f l e x i b i l i t y in implementing educational in i t ia t ives . As a result , the unique needs of the communities could be met. 110 However, certain aspects of SSDM were identified as contributing to principals' increased experiences of stress. These included (1) the pressure from the central office in meeting important deadlines; (2) the burden of responsibility for the budget, transferred from the central office to principals; and (3) the expanded role of principals . The expanded role of the principal under SSDM was considered to be the main source of principals' stress. In Jankovic's findings, one of the aspects identified was that SSDM had increased the potential for conflicts between the principals and staff. There was no indication by principals in this study that this confl ict was a source of stress. In their recent research report, Holdaway and Johnson (1987) compared the levels of satisfaction with job facets between principals from the Edmonton Public School Distr ict and a l l other selected principals in Alberta (elementary and junior high schools only). The study found that Edmonton principals reported a much higher level of satisfaction than did their counterparts in other Alberta school d i s t r i c t s . Out of 42 job facets identif ied, Edmonton principals registered a higher satisfaction rating in more than 70% of these facets. I l l A 6-point scale was employed to assess the degree of satisfaction with each work facet. A frequency analysis of the 42 "Mean Satisfaction Ratings" reveals the following results : At Elementary Leve1' Mean Satisfaction Rating (6-point scale) up to 4.5 up to 5.0 Above 5.0 Total Frequency of 42 Mean Satisfaction Ratings  A l l Other Edmonton Alberta Principals Principals 5 11 26 42 15 20 7 42 At Junior High Level up to 4.5 up to 5.0 Above 5.0 Total 5 14 23 42 11 21 10 42 Apparently, Edmonton principals reported higher "Mean Satisfaction Ratings" in a greater number of job facets. Facets of the job which emerged as most satisfying for Edmonton principals included (1) the principal's physical working conditions; (2) authority associated with the principal 's position; (3) involvement in hiring teachers for the school; and (4) ava i lab i l i ty of c l e r i c a l staff to assist the principal . The details of the "Means Satisfaction Ratings" are provided in Appendices II and III. 112 Satisfaction Levels Among Students and Parents Every year, a one-page attitude survey questionnaire is administered to a random sample of students and parents in the Edmonton d i s t r i c t . The samples are drawn in a manner that provide rel iable results at the individual school level . The survey provides an indication of the levels of satisfaction of the respondents. Survey of Student Attitude. The survey questionnaires for students contain 37 items for senior high students, 35 for junior high students, and 24 for elementary students. The items questioned are broadly categorized into four areas : (1) school courses and learning; (2) school personnel; (3) d isc ipl ine , rules and regulations; and (4) school f a c i l i t i e s . • As reported in a memorandum of the Superintendent of Schools to the Board of Trustees, there was an overall increase in students' level of satisfaction for the majority of areas covered in the 1987 - survey. The memorandum also reported that students at the elementary level continued to show high stable levels of satisfaction, with concerns being related mostly to behavior and discipline issues. Junior high students exhibited an overall lower level of 113 satisfaction than elementary and senior high students, although most items showed increases of four to ten per cent over the period 1982-87. Senior high students expressed a slight decrease in levels of satisfaction for most items over the 1986-87 period. The levels of satisfaction remained generally higher than those expressed by junior high students. The item analysis is given below : Item Analysis 1986 to 1987 1982 to 1987* Elementary Students Increased satisfaction 43% 91% No change 48% 0% Decreased satisfaction 9% 9% Junior High Students Increased satisfaction 57% 91% No change 29%. 3% Decreased satisfaction 14% 6% Senior High Students Increased satisfaction 32% 54% No change 16% 8% Decreased satisfaction 52% 38% (* - indicates five-year trend.) (The five-year (1982-87) trend indicates a progressive increase. No survey was administered in - 1984.) 114 For the elementary students, the areas of increased satisfaction in the 1987 survey included these items : children in the schools follow rules; homework helps students to learn more; and students l ike being in school. Less satisfied areas included teachers' caring attitude toward students and school's dealing with children who misbehave. The detailed results are presented in Appendix IV. Fifty-seven percent of the junior high students expressed increased satisfaction in the areas of the number of option courses available; high school and career planning assistance; a say in decisions that affect students; and extra-curricular programs. Areas of decrease included satisfaction with their principal; how discipl ine was handled in schools; and numbers of students in classes. The detailed results are presented in Appendix V. Areas where senior high students expressed levels of increased satisfaction included the amount of opportunity for experiencing success in school programs, the number of option courses available, and feelings towards principals and assistant principals . Lower levels of satisfaction were registered in such areas as feelings towards teachers, the office staff and the students' council . Other areas were further education, career planning assistance, and the way student discipline and attendance problems were handled. The detailed results are shown in Appendix VI. 115 It is regrettable that i t was not possible, for reasons of-confidential ity, to compare the student satisfaction levels of the two schools with those for the d i s t r i c t as a whole. It would have been very informative also to have been able to compare data from 1979 to the - present time. For example, have the attitudes of students (of Strathearn and "Lighthouse") toward self , others, school, and education become more positive over this period? Even more useful would be a comparison of the attitudes of students in Edmonton with non-SSDM school systems. Based on the information provided by the teachers of the schools studied, i t was noted that there have been fewer discipl ine and vandalism problems in these schools. The claim that student discipl ine would improve i f students participate, is supported by the research of Richter and Tjosvold (1980), who demonstrated that children in student participation classes spent more time on task regardless of teacher presence. Conway cited findings by McPartland and McDill (1974) indicating " . . . less truancy and lower incl ination towards vandalism in schools" (1984 : 27). Survey of Parent Attitude. The survey questionnaires for parents contain 29 items which can be broadly classif ied into 5 areas : (1) school programs; (2) communication/information; (3) parent involvement; (4) school personnel; and (5) school f a c i l i t i e s . 116 The memorandum of the Superintendent of Schools reported that in 1987, parents showed a progressive increase in levels of satisfaction for most items questioned, but continued attention wi l l be directed to the adequacy of information about the d i s t r i c t ' s programs and accomplishments and the extent of parental involvement in the budget planning process at the school level . The detailed results are reproduced in Appendix V.I I. The item analysis is given below : Item Analysis 1986 to 1987 1982 to 1987 « Increased satisfaction 50% 67% No change 25% 21% Decreased satisfaction 25% 12% In Edmonton, parent attitude survey results for individual schools are graded as confidential documents. However, the researcher was given access to the parents' survey results of the two schools studied. In the case of Strathearn, the parents reported an overall high level of satisfaction in the 1987 survey. Out of 29 areas surveyed, 22 were found to be higher than the d i s t r i c t ' s . The higher percentage differences ranged from 1 percent to 23 percent. Two areas registered s l ight ly lower levels. Areas of satisfaction included communications, courses and programs offered in school, and satisfaction with teachers. 117 In the case of "Lighthouse", out of 33 areas surveyed, 22 were found to be higher than that of the d i s t r i c t ' s . The higher percentage differences ranged from 1 percent to 10 percent. Areas of satisfaction included involvement with the budgeting process and the handling of student d isc ip l ine . There were eight areas which were s l ight ly lower. This study revealed that parents of an SSDM school system do express a high level of satisfaction with the education system. As Mann (1974) asserted, parent participation in educational decision-making increased parents' identif ication with the school. Proponents of parent participation in educational decision-making, including Solo (1979), Seldin and Maloy (1979), and Herman and Yeh (1983), frequently cite benefit claims, associated with parent participation in appreciation of governance complexities, increased support for education, more effective organizations, and improved morale and self-confidence. A comparison of the attitudes of parents in Edmonton with the attitudes of parents- in non-SSDM systems may be useful in substantiating these claims. Administrative Efficiency Efficiency implies managing the educational resources in such a way as to generate the greatest benefit at a cost which can be readily borne by the public (Alexandruk, 1985 : 23). 118 Much l i terature contains frequent references to the greater efficiency with respect to the expenditures on education as a result of decentralization. Alexandruk reported that, "Other features of school budgeting which were perceived as positive aspects included efficiency and effectiveness in the expenditure of the education dollar" (1985 : 126). When asked i f SSDM was adopted partly because i t might reduce costs, a senior administrator from the central office replied that i t was not. The present principal of "Lighthouse" also confirmed that cost reduction was never intended to be one of the objectives of SSDM. This was evident from the fact that the number of positions at the central office remained unchanged despite the move to decentralize. Furthermore, a l l larger schools were provided with a business manager to handle the accounting works, which presumably had been previously done by central off ice . Coleman, in his study of four schools in a Brit i sh Columbia school d i s t r i c t , found that, "Since some might believe that SBDM has the potential for cutting costs, i t should be emphasized that in the SBDM schools the change was not toward reduced spending but redirected spending" (1987 : 9). (The term School-Based Decision-Making [SBDM] was used in Coleman's study.) 119 The data gathered in Brown's study indicated that the cost per student in Edmonton was the same for the years from 1979 to 1983. This seems to indicate "that efficiency has increased" (1987 : 29). Presumably he made such a statement based on the fact that inf lat ion was increasing during the period. However, the data gathered for this study showed that in the subsequent years (1983 to 1987) the cost per student did escalate. The increase at the d i s t r i c t level was marginal. Table One provides details on student enrolment, expenditures and cost per student. TABLE ONE Student Enrolment At Dis tr ic t Level Expenditure Cost Per ($) Student ($) 1983-84 69,042 274,895,000 3,982 1984-85 68,905 (no change) 286,150,000 4,153 (+4%) ) 1985- 86 69,750 (+1%) 1986- 87 70,357 (+0.9%) At Strathearn Community 1983- 84 331 1984- 85 324 (-2%) 1985- 86 286 (-12%) 1986- 87 257 (-10%) At "Lighthouse" Senior High 1983- 84 1,173 1984- 85 1,028 (-12%) 1985- 86 1,021 (-1%) 1986- 87 1,011 (-1%) 295,656,000 4,239 (+2%) ) 9% 307,337,000 4,368 (+3%) ) 846,788 834,529 785,771 861,762 2,691,825 2,412,186 2,431,440 2,774,387 2,558 2,576 (+1%) 2,747 (+7%) ) )30% 3,353 (+22%) ) 2,295 ) 2,346 (+2%) )18% 2,381 (+1%) ) 2,744 (+15%) ) NOTE : -(1) Percentages in parentheses denote the differences between the present and previous years. (2) Dis tr ic t - l eve l costs include the costs of a l l the individual schools as well as the central office. . 120 The d i s t r i c t ' s and the two schools' costs per pupil are 9%, 30% and 18% higher, respectively, than the figures registered four years ago. Taking into account the 15% increases in Alberta teachers' salaries, i t can be concluded that Edmonton d i s tr i c t on the whole has achieved administrative efficiency. However, i t is d i f f i c u l t to explain the discrepancies between the reduced enrolment figures and expenditure at the two schools studied. At the schools studied, there seems to be no evidence of increased efficiency in the sense that costs are reduced. The operational definition of efficiency by Thomas cannot apply to these schools as there is no qualitative evidence showing that there is "an increase in goal attainment at the same level of costs; maintenance of goal attainment at reduced costs; or an increase in goal attainment at reduced costs" (1980 : 148). However, several researchers make the point that spending has been somewhat redirected. Moreover, certain basic components c r i t i c a l to the operation of a school, such as personnel and school f a c i l i t i e s , cannot be cut down overnight despite the drop in enrolment. Another way to view efficiency was proposed by Caldwell (1979) who wrote, "Efficiency is concerned with whether effectiveness is being achieved at an acceptable cost." With the limited evidence obtained, i t may be concluded that Edmonton d i s t r i c t is achieving effectiveness at an acceptable cost. This 121 conclusion is based on the fact that the d i s t r i c t is gaining adequate returns for i ts investment. Curriculum f l e x i b i l i t y , more innovations, high student achievement, and satisfied principals , parents and students are the important returns. COSTS AND BENEFITS : AN ANALYSIS From the responses of the teachers and principals in this study, - i t is evident that involvement in SSDM does offer certain benefits which school d i s tr ic t s might view as important goals. However, teachers and principals alike were not hesitant in pointing out the.costs - the weaknessess or losses - of SSDM. Benefits (Gains) of SSDM The most frequently cited benefits or gains of SSDM of principals and teachers were (1) increased autonomy and ownership; (2) curriculum f l e x i b i l i t y ; and (3) expediency in securing supplies and equipment. Principals and teachers perceived SSDM as providing them with a higher level of autonomy to determine which curricular and staff development act iv i t ies best met the needs of their particular school. In carrying out these functions, they also controlled the 122 ways in which the financial resources were spent. Besides added confidence in one's ab i l i ty to control his or her school's resources, SSDM was also perceived by most teachers as having contributed to an individual's feeling of ownership - the notion that one has a stake in the future of an organization. A similar finding was found in the study of Duke, Showers and Lnber, where teachers reported "a sense of shared ownership" as one of the three benefits resulting from shared decision-making (1980 : 99). The ownership feeling is a dist inct benefit because i t can combat the destructive forces of anomie and alienation. It should be pointed out that alienation was on no occasion reported by any of the principals or.teachers in this study. Greater curriculum f l e x i b i l i t y to plan programs to meet school needs and local pr ior i t ies and the emergence of new program choices for students (for example, the extended French program at Strathearn and the academic challenge program at "Lighthouse") were seen as positive developments as a result of implementing SSDM. The benefits of minimizing the amount of "red tape" were realized in the two schools studied, particularly with regard to the procurement of supplies, equipment and services. The bureaucratic procedures that existed in the past were perceived to have caused frustration and ineffectiveness. 123 Another benefit of SSDM which was reported by only half of the teachers interviewed was that SSDM brought the planning process into focus - assessment of needs was promoted, and conscious decisions about the ut i l i za t ion of resources were forced to meet defined objectives. There was increased awareness of the relationship between educational needs, programs and associated costs. Both the present principals of "Lighthouse" and Strathearn attested that SSDM provided a framework for professional development as participation in the process enhances the development of sk i l l s in assessing needs, goal-setting, policy-making, setting pr ior i t i e s , planning,. budgeting, evaluating, decision-making, forming consensus and problem-solving. The present principal of Strathearn believed that her teachers had also improved in these professional sk i l l s over the years. Though the claim of professional development seems log ica l , none of the teachers cited this aspect as a gain through SSDM. It is possible that they were not conscious of their own development in professional s k i l l s . Thus, i t should not be assumed that teachers did not gain any professional development just because they did not identify this as one of the gains. Costs (Losses) of SSDM The negative aspect most frequently identified by teachers and principals alike was the time factor associated with the SSDM 124 process. Teachers particularly felt that SSDM was a time-consuming process that eroded instructional and teacher preparation time. The time factor was also identified as a problem associated with participative decision-making by Solo (1979), Cooke and Coughlin (1979), and Seldin and Maloy (1-979). Principals and teachers felt that to operate SSDM effectively, they should be allotted sufficient time to perform the planning and decision-making functions. Teachers in particular expressed concern that the time requirements for budget preparation and . planning were added to an already demanding workload and teaching assignment. For them, time devoted to participating in decision-making processes was time not devoted to teaching ac t iv i t i e s . This perception can be overcome only i f the teachers are made to realize that teaching act iv i t ies require more than a fixed expenditure of time. By i ts nature, teaching is a job in which more can always be done. The second most unfavourable aspect of SSDM, identified by teachers alone, concerned that increased hiring and f ir ing authority of the principals . Since the principals had the authority to hire and f i re , teachers felt that they had to obey the principals in order to "stay in their good book." A similar reaction was registered by teachers in Alexandruk's (1985) study. When asked to nominate weaknesses of SSDM, teachers in his study ranked principals' increased authority fourth. 125 Work-related stress was identified by principals and teachers as another unfavourable cost of SSDM. The sources were discussed in Chapter Five. In brief , the expanded role of principals and teachers under SSDM was the major source of stress. Teacher work-related stress has been reported as an outcome of wider participation by. Seldin and Maloy (1979), and Duke, Showers and Imber (1980). One aspect of SSDM which was identified by teachers as a weakness was perceived in a different l ight by principals . This aspect concerned the decentralization of staffing functions to the school level . Under this staffing system, teachers who have been declared surplus, or who want to transfer, find themselves operating in a "free market" environment, going from school to school to be interviewed by the principals who have vacancies. Teachers perceived this arrangement as demoralizing since i t caused anxiety, stress and loss of self-esteem. * Principals perceived this aspect as positive because the arrangement was made in the belief that teachers would prefer to choose their own school rather than accept a position decided by the central off ice . The Balance of Costs and Benefits It is apparent that the adoption of SSDM involves much more than a change in the location at which a budget is prepared and/or administered. SSDM demands more individual dynamism, in i t ia t ive and 126 higher levels of commitment and energy by principals and teachers. Moreover, as Caldwell and Spinks pointed out, SSDM " . . . requires a range of knowledge, sk i l l s and attitudes not demanded in schools which have worked within a framework of centrally-determined' policies" (1988 : 20). The increases in autonomy, sense of ownership, and curriculum f l e x i b i l i t y cannot be attained without cost. The greater time demand, increased workload and increased work-related stress may be seen as trade-offs. In other words, the cost of SSDM may be high, but i t does yield a good return. It is noted that except for the second principal of Strathearn, a l l other principals perceived the benefits (gains) of SSDM as high and the costs (losses) as low. Judging from teachers' willingness to remain on the SSDM system and to recommend i t to other systems that are interested in the innovations, i t can be assumed that, they considered the costs and benefits of SSDM to be at least balanced. As Alexandruk wrote, "The real test of the level of satisfaction and commitment to a concept or process is found in the willingness to recommend i t to others" (1987 : 30). CHAPTER SIX 127 SSDM AS AN INNOVATION : SOME OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The adoption of SSDM involves much more than a change in the location at which a budget is prepared and/or administered. The transfer of decision-making from the central office to the school, by i t s e l f a change in structure, has important and interdependent consequences for the tasks, personnel, and operations of a school. The observations of these consequences are summarized below. •j / Implementation Problems (1) The picture of implementation of SSDM at the schools studied was generally positive but the principals and teachers reached consensus only after some struggle. There were no overt acts of resistance. For example, no teacher refused to be involved and there was no boycott. In general, teachers went along with the change but they grumbled a lot . A l l teachers experienced fear and anxiety about the "unknown" during the i n i t i a l period of SSDM. Teachers perceived that SSDM was implemented with much haste in the d i s t r i c t . Only principals were provided with some form of in-service seminar before implementation and they were expected to prepare their 128 teachers for accepting the major change in management. It appears that the implementation of SSDM in the Edmonton d i s t r i c t could have been smoother i f training and in-service act iv i t ies for teachers had been conducted to develop new attitudes and roles that are fundamental to the new style of management. (2) The perceived advantages or incentives of SSDM were not forcefully communicated to teachers. Since the i n i t i a l expectations were not clear, i t appeared that much time and effort went into developing a workable decision-making mechanism at the two schools. Involvement of Teachers in Decision-Making Process (1) The two schools studied did not start with staff who were strongly devoted to participative decision-making. Teachers today do not wish to be left out of decision-making concerning the school, but neither do they wish to be overly involved. Other studies indicated that over-participation as well as more frequent decisional deprivation both tended to increase teacher dissatisfaction (Conway, 1986). (2) There was no evidence of decisional deprivation experienced by the teachers in either school. Teachers of Strathearn, in fact, were apparently more involved in a l l decision-making aspects owing to the smaller staff strength of the school. 129 Principals' Role and Leadership Styles (1) Principals felt that • the managerial responsibil it ies given, that i s , to oversee the budget, maintenance, caretaking and rentals, had taken away time from their work as a principal teacher. Most teachers, particularly those from Strathearn, expressed a need to emphasize the instructional leadership role of the pr inc ipal . (2) A l l the principals in this study appeared to. employ a consultative leadership style, except for the present principal of Strathearn whose style seemed to l i e at the group end of a consultative-group continuum in leadership style. Levels of Satisfaction (1) The overall attitude survey showed that the staff satisfaction level has been fa l l ing over the last two years. Teachers in this study reported that the source of their satisfaction came from working with their students. Principals reported a higher level of satisfaction. This finding is consistent with those of other studies. (2) Parents reported an overall high level of satisfaction with the schools studied. 130 (3) The .1987 student attitude survey revealed that there has been an overall decrease in the level of satisfaction among the high school students. Students at the elementary and junior high school levels continued to show a stable level of satisfaction. Administrative Efficiency (1) The senior administrators at the central office confirmed that cost-reduction was not the objective of SSDM. (2) The costs per student at the two schools were found to have escalated over the last four years. The increases were not consistent with the drop in enrolments. However, the overall cost per student at the d i s t r i c t level increased only marginally. Edmonton d i s t r i c t seems to have achieved administrative efficiency, judging from the slight increase in the overall student enrolment, the inflation rate and the increase in staff salaries as well as gains in student achievement, and increased satisfaction levels among parents and certain categories of students. Student Achievement (1) A mechanism to enable comparison of student achievement before and after SSDM was not available at the d i s t r i c t . 131 (2) The results of (1) International Baccalaureate examinations; (2) Alberta Education Achievement Tests; and (3) Alberta Education Diploma Examinations showed that the Edmonton d i s t r i c t averages were higher than the world and provincial averages for a few years. Starting from 1986, however, a lower achievement has been reported (except in the International Baccalaureate exam). RECOMMENDATIONS This section contains a number of suggestions for persons/ systems interested in innovations l ike SSDM. The f irs t part presents considerations that should be warranted in the adoption of SSDM. Some specific recommendations are given in the second part and suggestions for further research are given in the last section. For Persons/Systems Interested in SSDM - Some Considerations A number of concerns that have a bearing on the v i a b i l i t y of SSDM must be considered before implementation. Consideration 1 : As changes may not be universally desired or welcomed, strategies developed to deal with reluctance to change may be necessary. The implementation of SSDM should proceed gradually and involve those affected by the change. Following the 132 original work of Coch and French (1948), many researchers have concluded that increased individual participation in organizational decision-making is associated with an increased . probability that change wi l l be accepted and successfully implemented. Consideration 2 : The advantage of starting with a pilot project should be noted. The pi lot project provides an opportunity to work the idea out with relat ively few people who welcome the idea of change and are committed to i ts succe'ss. They are able to correct problems and rectify mistakes in a sheltered environment over the term of the project. After the obvious problems have been ironed out, then a suitable date for introducing the program system-wide can be set. Sufficient lead time should be provided to enable a l l concerned to get used to the new system. Consideration 3 : Teachers are by far the largest group within the d i s t r i c t to be affected by the implementation of SSDM. Thus they can have the greatest impact on the successful operation of a school budgeting plan. The fear and anxiety about the change and role ambiguity . reported in the i n i t i a l period of SSDM in Edmonton, points to the importance of developing new s k i l l s . Training teachers to prepare them for change is therefore a crucial consideration in implementing SSDM. The areas of training identified include interpersonal communication, problem ident i f icat ion, problem solving, shared decision-making techniques, 133 understanding budget and budget development, working with advisory committees, group processes time management, and confl ict resolution. The expectation of such act iv i t ies would result in changes in attitudes, values and sk i l l s in addition to changes in knowledge (Bardel l in i , 1977 : 14). Consideration 4 : The decentralization of decision-making has a significant impact on the role of the pr incipal . The tension between "principal as school manager" and "principal as instructional leader" is intensified under SSDM since the demand for managing an SSDM school is so great. This study revealed teachers' desires to have a more col legial educational leader. Similarly, Alexandruk in his study concluded that "The perception that the school budgeting is increasing the authority of principals and creating a 'school manager' role for the principal as different from the col legial educational leader niust be a concern to the d i s t r i c t and the profession. There appears to exist a need to emphasize the educational leadership role of the principal within the school budgeting context." (1985 : 43) Thus, there should be consideration by school systems to decide on the role their principals are expected, to assume. For a secondary school, the expertise of department chairpersons should be tapped to improve instructional practices. Department chairpersons are closer to classroom act iv i t ies than most principals and are in a position to be viewed by other teachers as active participants in 134 the teaching-learning process. This position, . i n addition to enhancing expertise in subject matter, affords department chairpersons cred ib i l i ty in the eyes of teachers, something which many secondary teachers are reluctant to accord their principals (Jones, 1988 : 7). For Persons/Systems Interested in SSDM -Some Specific Recommendations Some specific recommendations (not presented in any order of significance) are proposed below for the consideration of persons/systems interested in SSDM. Measurement of Student Achievement. It would be desirable for a d i s tr i c t planning to implement SSDM to develop a mechanism for comparing student achievement before and after the new system. Information of this nature may bring to new light the advantages and disadvantages of SSDM. Discretion Over Personnel. It is important that principals be granted discretion over personnel. As Garms, Guthrie and Pierce wrote, "The authority to hire personnel is essential i f the principal is to be held accountable for the school's performance. The classroom teacher remains the c r i t i c a l l ink in the educational process. Without the ab i l i ty to hire and assign teachers, the principal would have l i t t l e control over school performance" (1978 : 281). 135 The growing resentment among teachers about the increased hiring and f ir ing authority of their principals should be a concern. However; as principals are responsible for the effectiveness of their school, they should have control over who is assigned to teach in that school. It is important for principals to recruit into their teams those who share their vis ions, who measure up to their perceptions of a good teacher, and who are wil l ing to take on what the schools require of them. Logical ly, teachers so recruited are l ike ly to be more loyal to the principal and would do everything to just i fy the principal 's faith in having appointed them. Teachers in an SSDM school should be convinced of the importance of this hiring and f ir ing power. Staff Deployment. It is found that there is a certain degree of staffing disruption within the Edmonton d i s tr i c t as a result of the decentralization of staffing functions to the school leve l . tinder the present staffing system, teachers who have been declared surplus (as a result of a decline in enrolment or change in program) or who want to transfer, find themselves operating in a "free market" environment, going from school to school to be interviewed by the principals who have vacancies. A form of natural selection comes into play, under which the young and energetic get the choice placements in the early stages of the process. The teacher whose area of specialty is not in high demand, however, is left to be placed at the end of the process, where the changes of a 136 satisfactory placement are minimal. Teachers claimed that this arrangement caused anxiety, stress and loss of self-esteem. This represents another area of concern in the operation of SSDM. Schedule of Budgetary Preparation. The timing of school involvement in budgeting must be considered carefully. In the case of Edmonton, i n i t i a l planning must occur in the early spring for operation's which wi l l commence the following September. The schools therefore have to operate on reasonable long-range projections and have to make modifications whenever more precise information becomes available. These requirements suggest that i n i t i a l budget planning should be done at the d i s t r i c t leve l , where reasonably val id projections can be made. The attempt to plan a detailed school budget in the spring seems impractical and i l l o g i c a l as principals and teachers are forced to set objectives for the education of students and classes they have not yet met and whose needs they cannot foresee. As there are too many unknown variables in spring for meaningful planning to occur, a more appropriate schedule seems needed. Concern for Time Factor. To most principals and teachers, SSDM i's a time-consuming process which has an impact on instructional and teacher preparation time. SSDM generates extra paperwork and more teacher-administrator meetings. Comments from teachers and principals indicate that there is insufficient time 137 allocated to the planning and budget preparation process. For teachers, time devoted to participating in decision-making processes is time not devoted to teaching act iv i t i e s . Teachers should be made to realize that teaching act ivi t ies require more than a fixed expenditure of time. Teaching, by i t s nature, is a job in which more could always be done. Subject to school regulations, allocation of school time for budget planning may be warranted. For Further Research There is a need for further studies having much narrower focuses than this exploration to identify c r i t i c a l variables affecting the adoption and operation of SSDM. The suggestions are presented as follows : Suggestion 1 : The need for efficiency in the use of resources while ensuring that the educational plan or program wi l l be effective in attaining i ts objectives, must remain an important consideration in decision-making at the school or d i s tr i c t leve l . Accountability l ies in the fact that educational resources are managed in such a way as to generate the greatest benefit to society at a cost which can be readily borne by the public (Alexandruk, 1985 : 23). The importance of financial concerns is also expressed by McMahon and Geske : 138 " . . . the sheer magnitude of educational costs and the large fraction of those costs borne by the taxpayer ensure that concerns with costs and cost effectiveness wi l l remain a major public policy issue for the foreseeable future. The public and policymakers alike are concerned about the productivity of educational institutions and are asking 'What are we getting for our money?'" (1982 : 32). A systematic cost-benefit analysis of the SSDM process would be useful to examine the efficiency of SSDM. The analysis could be designed to compare expenditures before and after decentralization and to compare systems with varying degrees of decentralization to gain a more profound conclusion. Suggestion 2 : A focused study to examine the effects of SSDM on student learning outcomes may be warranted. Suggestion 3 : A study on teachers' job satisfaction across the school d i s tr ic t s in Alberta would provide more insight into the relationship between SSDM and Edmonton school teachers' perception of job satisfaction. (A similar study was undertaken by Holdaway and Johnson (1987) on principals' job satisfaction.) In order to measure how goals and objectives of SSDM are met, i t would be useful to compare the satisfaction levels of Edmonton students and their parents with non-SSDM school systems. 139 CONCLUDING REMARK The education system in Singapore is a highly centralized one. Histor ica l ly , i t has come about as a result of a decision to ensure, that a l l schools maintain proper standards and contribute to the general well-being of the country. The end result is that schools in Singapore tend to develop into stereotyped units, activating themselves on instructions from the central authority. They have also come to be near replicas of each other. For some time now, various moves have been init iated by Government o f f i c ia l s to enable schools to function more effectively. Over a period of time, greater autonomy has been gradually devolved to principals, on the grounds that centralization had st i f led in i t ia t ive and creativity. Within the broad confines of the national educational policy, principals are granted greater latitude in managing schools, structuring the teaching program from prescribed subject syllabuses, and selecting and' using teaching materials. However, certain c r i t i c a l areas s t i l l remain beyond the control of schools and the discretion of principals . These include the f l ex ib i l i ty in. having a broader curriculum, in the selection of teachers, and in the deployment of financial resources. 140 The Ministry of Education recognizes' the need to generate conditions in schools which would allow for greater f l ex ib i l i t y and so produce an environment for creativity and independent thought to emerge. Rather than have schools function only on instructions from the central off ice, they should be encouraged to advance proposals of their own, to convert themselves into more effective educational agencies with their own dist inctive identity. As asserted by Goodlad (1984:276) "the school must become largely self-directing i f i t is to be improved". It is obvious that the most promising means of achieving excellence,in education rests at the level of the school. The ingenuity of principals and teachers is a key factor, and conditions have to be provided for this to emerge. A new model of school management has to be developed. As there is no local model that could be adopted to lead the way, i t is recommended that SSDM be examined by of f ic ia l s in the Singapore school system. They would need to assess whether or not such a model could be adapted to the Singapore school situation. Perhaps through a pilot project, involving only a few schools, o f f ic ia l s could determine whether the benefits identified in this Edmonton study might also accrue to Singapore schools. 141 It would be hoped that i f such a pi lot program were to be approved, that the designers would bear in mind some of the suggestions made in the present study. Specif ical ly , that teachers be kept well informed at every stage of the project, and that principals of the schools involved be given specific training in areas such as group decision making, budgeting, and curriculum development, to mention only three. 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Beverly" H i l l : Ballinger : 145-168. Vaughn, F .H. 1968 "Forget about decentralizing - i f your principals aren't ready". America School Board Journal, 156(6) 24-26. Yin, K.R. 1984. Case Study Research Design and Methods. Publications, Inc. SAGE Young, J . H . 1986 "School-based budgeting and principals' leadership styles". The Canadian School Executive : 6-9. 151 Appendix I Procedures employed for budget preparation at Strathearn. Step One At a formal staff meeting in January, the principal forms a budget committee to work on the next year's budget plan. This plan includes the total amount of money to be allotted to the school based on the framework of d i s t r i c t pr ior i t ies established by the central office and the pr ior i t ies established by the school. Step Two ' The committee asks for inputs from the teachers, students and parents primarily with regard to staffing and school p r i o r i t i e s . Input from teachers is usually requested in writing. Teacher input can be made (1) individual ly , (2) by small groups (grade leve l , divis ion level , subject area), or (3) by the whole staff. In any case, i t is expected that some discussion wi l l take place among teachers. Step Three The committee uses the inputs from step two to develop a budget proposal which includes such major items as staffing and a l i s t of school pr ior i t ies and objectives. 152 Step Four The committee so l i c i t s the reaction of teachers to the budget proposal through discussion at formal staff meetings and written submissions, and also through informal talks between principal and teachers. The views of students and parents are sought through the student council meeting and newsletters respectively. Step Five The committee uses a l l inputs from Step Four to make final decisions and to write the formal budget document. The different stages of involvement of the parents, students and teachers in budget preparation are clearly laid down in the procedures. 


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