Creating Partnerships

Published April 1, 2000

“We have lost our focus on our core business of educating children,” and one way to get that focus back is to outsource things we don’t do well, maintains James Williams, former superintendent of the public school system in Dayton, Ohio.

Williams addressed a recent World Research Group conference on “Emerging Public/Private Partnerships in America’s Schools,” held on January 19-21 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Williams offer advice to school administrators seeking to outsource services:

  • Bring community leaders and other key players to the table.
  • Make it clear that “we’re not here to take jobs.”
  • Do not push outsourcing for its cost savings.
  • Promote outsourcing for its greater efficiency, higher productivity, and better return on investment.

Lowell Billings, assistant superintendent of Chula Vista Elementary School, warned against underestimating the effort required to bring about change in a public school system.

“The system is very resilient,” he noted. “It has fought off reform for decades.”