The Hidden Expenses of Grants

With more than three decades of experience in education, Michael Kuzniewski, EDD, leads J.S. Morton High School District 201 as superintendent. Dr. Michael Kuzniewski recently wrote an article entitled “All That Glitters Is Not Gold” for Update, a magazine published by the Illinois Association of School Business Officials, which discusses the hidden expenses of grants.

When applying for and using grant funds, educational institutions should consider the following expenditures to determine the grants’ real value.

Preparation costs: Schools may not be able to afford full-time grant writers, which then requires staff members to research, plan, and write the applications. This takes employees away from fulfilling their primary job functions. Ultimately, a school is paying an employee to perform a different job function without any assurance that the grant will be approved, and other areas of operations may suffer from lack of attention.

Management expenses: Educational institutions often overlook the necessity of grant management. As a result, administrators and clerical support personnel tend to take on that responsibility. Despite being overburdened, these individuals may require a stipend to complete the task.

Evaluation and reporting fees: Many grantors require grantees to list goals they have accomplished. Hiring an evaluator to collect the data and write the report is an additional expense, and it is not uncommon for institutions to lack budget.

Keys for Superintendent Success

A graduate of Nova University, Michael Kuzniewski earned a doctor of education in educational leadership and has more than 30 years of experience in the field. Since 2010, Michael Kuzniewski has served as the superintendent of JS Morton High School District 201 in Cicero and Berwyn, Illinois.

The head of a school district, the superintendent balances the needs of its schools with the requirements of the district’s community, students, parents, staff, and board of trustees. Meeting the needs of all of these groups can be a difficult, time-consuming process, but by understanding some key tips, a superintendent can manage them successfully.

Strive to be clear. Communication is important when dealing with any group, but it is especially important when describing a vision for the school district as a whole. People are more likely to support goals and objectives when they can understand and appreciate them.

Strive for equality. Especially important when communicating with the board of trustees, ensure that all members receive updates regardless of how often they deal directly with the superintendent. Similarly, communicating only with the board is a surefire way to alienate and aggravate the other groups.

Strive for leadership. Perhaps the most important part of a superintendent’s job, leadership guides the actions of the district and all of its groups. Leadership can also help solve issues that arise throughout the year and helps ensure that both the district and the superintendent meet their goals.