Financial decision making in four New Zealand secondary schools
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Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/2338
This study investigates financial decision making in four mid to low decile Auckland secondary schools. Before the advent of education administration reforms in the late 1980’s state schools in New Zealand had little exposure to financial management practices. Currently there is little research examining financial decision making in the New Zealand secondary school setting. This study adopted a qualitative approach in the form of a study of the four schools. Participants were involved through semi-structured interviews of each of the principals and a questionnaire for the middle managers. Four research questions guided this study: What kind of financial decisions do educational leaders make in relation to resourcing teaching and learning? What strategies are used by educational leaders when making financial decisions? How are financial decisions evaluated by educational leaders? What are the issues and challenges facing educational leaders when making financial decisions? The findings revealed four key themes; firstly the devolvement of financial decision making to the principal and middle managers; secondly the impact of financial decision making on the role of the educational leader; thirdly the constraints around financial decision making and finally the limitations in the evaluation of financial decision making. The implication is that financial decision making is a significant and crucial aspect of the educational leader’s role. A further implication is the importance of establishing robust practises to evaluate financial decisions to ensure that resources allocated are benefiting student achievement. Recommendations that emerge from this study are based around increasing the amount of discretion available to better cater for diversity, in particular this needs to occur at the middle management level. The evaluation of financial decisions should be based on both the capacity of the school and also importantly the impact on student achievement. Financial decision making is an important aspect of the educational leaders’ role and thorough training is needed for both principals and middle managers.