The business model
can serve schools well
While I normally agree with much of what Mark Peterson has to say, I have to take issue with the premise of his April 10 column suggesting that schools should not be run like businesses. Here’s why;
1. While the function of business is to make a profit, it can do so only if it satisfies its customers.
2. When a business faces hard times it works extra hard to provide more rather than less service to the client or customer. This is accomplished by reducing overhead (cutting frills, layoffs, economizing).
3. The function of a school district is to provide quality education in a manner that satisfies its customers (read students and taxpayers).
4. When our school district faced hard times it moved first to cut services to the students, raise their fees etc. This, of course, does not make for satisfied customers. Would we not be better served if the district used the business approach of short changing the “customer” only after all other options are exhausted?
Peterson rightfully talks about social responsibility but one can’t have his cake and also eat it. This responsibility must extend to the student first but also to persons underwriting the cost of the process. These persons have a perfect right to expect the school administration to run the district in a business-like manner.
As to the administration being “chock full of first-rate business experience,” a glance back at facility maintenance policy, referendum proposals and capacity planning makes that statement doubtful at best.
Finally, we should all keep in mind that the public only elects extremists when its concerns are ignored.
Jim Rubenzer West Bend