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Budget Testimony by Greg Brandon on Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence

January 31, 2012 by Greg Brandon

[The following testimony was delivered by FEC member Greg Brandon during the Public Hearing on the FCPS FY 2013 Advertised Budget on January 30, 2012.  Greg Brandon, Web Editor]

Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight on the FCPS FY 2013 Advertised Budget. My name is Greg Brandon and I’m a parent advocate who supports K through 12 public education. Tonight, I speak as an individual who appreciates good leadership and management practices that lead to efficient and effective government programs.

The Baldrige Education Criteria for Performance Excellence (http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/enter/education.cfm) is a “comprehensive way to achieve and sustain high performance across the entire organization. The Baldrige Criteria address all key areas of running a successful education organization and are compatible with other performance improvement initiatives, such as School Improvement Planning, ISO 9000, Lean, and Six Sigma. Using the Baldrige framework, you can organize and integrate these approaches, improve productivity and effectiveness, and pursue performance excellence.”

Montgomery County Public Schools, the 16th largest school system in the nation, was a 2010 Baldrige National Quality Award recipient in the Education Category. They started working on the Baldrige program in 2002 and submitted packages in 2004 and 2006 before finally winning in 2010. (See http://www.baldrige.nist.gov/PDF_files/2010_MCPS_Award_Application_Summa... for the MCPS award application summary.)

One result of the MCPS Baldrige program is that their FY 2013 Operating Budget (http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/budget/fy2013/superintend...) chapter on the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs is 71 pages compared to 5 pages in our approved budget. FCPS offers 4 pages to the 300 staff members of our IT Department, while MCPS dedicates 41 pages to a staff half the size (159). We explain the operation of divisions within this department in a paragraph of generalizations while they detail not only the mission of each division, but specific accomplishments and objectives, expenses and salaries. Unlike our budget, their budget provides transparency, allowing the public and school board members to understand how central staff dollars are spent.

Let me emphasize that it is NOT about winning the award but about embarking on an introspective analysis of current management performance with the goal of improving overall organizational performance across seven categories including: Leadership; Strategic Planning; Customer Focus; Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management; Workforce Focus; Operations Focus; and, Results.

Forget about all of the other awards FCPS has received. They are superficial compared to the Baldrige program. I’m sure that the investment in time and dollars will pay-off as FCPS cultivates improvements that not only save taxpayer dollars but enhance customer and workforce satisfaction.

I will mention the Baldrige program again when the school board invites the public to weigh-in on selection criteria for the new superintendent.

Thank you.

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