Estimating Costs and Benefits of School District Services

Source: Ralph A. Hanson, Fred Niedermeyer, 3RsPlus, Inc., February 4, 2009

From the abstract:
Public schools provide many services in addition to academic instruction and childcare for which they receive little credit. School nursing services is one such area, and provides important benefits to individual students and the general citizenry. However, the extent to which these services are delivered to students are seldom clearly described, and the costs of delivering them are buried deep in administrative budgets. Thus, what taxpayers are getting for their money is unknown. As a results, nursing and many other school services are easily targeted for downsizing and budget cutbacks. This is not good educational policy, and it is poor management.

The three-year study presented here was a programmatic R&D effort to help a large, urban school district develop and implement the Nursing Accomplishment Information System (NAIS), an information management system that allowed the district to (a) clearly define its nursing services, (b) track the extent to which these services were actually delivered, and (c) calculate the costs of these services. As a result, the district found, and was able to communicate its constituencies, that it was delivering an impressive array of nursing services to students in a very cost-effective manner. Thus, the study yielded an operational prototype that can be used to determine and manage the costs and benefits of any service provided by a public school district.

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