Public Works identifies best practices in education policy, develops innovative solutions, and conducts in-depth research that moves public policy across all levels of education, from early childhood to higher education and workforce preparation. We know how to make every dollar count.
Here is some of what we've done ...
Public Works Completes Performance Review for Texas Legislative Budget Board
Public Works recently completed a performance review of the Dalhart Independent School District for the Texas Legislative Budget Board (LBB). The LBB’s Texas School Performance Review Program was created by the TX Legislature in 1990 to “periodically review the effectiveness and efficiency of the budgets and operations of school districts.” The LBB is responsible for conducting comprehensive reviews of school districts’ educational, financial and operational services and programs as directed by statute (Section 322.016, Government Code). To carry out this statutory responsibility for Dalhart Independent School District, LBB contracted with Public Works LLC to perform the efficiency and effectiveness review.
The review process includes a variety of methodology including a review of data, use of peer district data, staff and parent surveys, interviews and focus groups, open parent and community meetings, and the use nationwide of best practices and metrics.
Each school district area is reviewed including, district organization and management, educational service delivery including all programs such as special education, English Language Learners, career and technology, alternative education, human resources, financial management, transportation, food services, safety and security, facilities, and parent and community involvement. All findings, recommendations, and fiscal impacts are supported by documented evidence.
The report is posted in English and Spanish on the LBB’s website and can be found here: Dalhart ISD Performance Review.
Public Works Completes Performance Reviews of two Alaska Education Agencies
Public Works recently completed two distinct performance reviews of the state of Alaska’s Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) and the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education/Alaska Student Loan Corporation (ACPE/ASLC). These engagements followed our previous successful project with the state, reviewing organizational and administrative structures for the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS).
DEED serves the educational needs of children across the largest geographical region in the country, impacting families in every community throughout the state, while laying the groundwork for the state’s economic future and creating opportunity for the next generation. The unique significance and sensitivity of DEED’s state and local roles warrants a high degree of oversight to ensure that its core services are being delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible, and in accordance with the state’s priorities. Core services include public school funding; fiscal accountability, compliance, and oversight; school effectiveness programs; active partnerships with other public and private entities concerned with education; and oversight of Alaska’s academic resources, and other special programs.
ACPE promotes access to and success in postsecondary education and career training for Alaska’s youth and is the state entity for central planning for higher education and financial aid programs. It is funded and overseen by ASLC, a public corporation and that finances ACPE and educational and training benefits to Alaskans through the sale of tax-exempt bonds.
These two projects have drawn upon Public Works’ experience working with government agencies in both densely populated and rural states; and our knowledge of best practices in the administration of education programs from across the country. Our team is proud of its results in providing DEED with a comprehensive review and substantive, relevant recommendations that will increase efficiency and effectiveness, while continuously improving the quality of the standards-based education provided to the youth of Alaska.
The complete final reports on DEED and ACPE/ASLC are available below:
Public Works Develops Early Childhood System Roadmap for Eagle County, Colorado
Public Works LLC was recently retained by the Eagle County Department of Human Services and the Eagle County School District to develop an Early Childhood System Roadmap to identify principles and best practices essential to a comprehensive early childhood system, to present strategies for building such a system, and to make recommendations specific to Eagle County.
Public Works Expands Education Practice
Public Works has been expanding its reach in the education field: In 2015, we participated in reviews of four school districts in South Carolina, testified before the West Virginia legislature on the continuing results of our 2011 statewide education system audit, and were awarded two more contracts to review the performance of both the higher education and K-12 education agencies in Alaska (currently underway). In 2016, we’re expanding further by partnering with Dr. JoAnn Cox and her firm (JJC & Associates) – with whom we have teamed on previous projects, including the West Virginia Department of Education performance review and the review of four South Carolina school districts.
Also joining our education consulting practice is Laura Dukess of OnPoint Leadership, a long-time education specialist and expert in educational leadership and professional development, and Carmen Ramirez. For samples of their work go here.
Washington Department of Early Learning: Child Care Subsidy Study
The Washington Department of Early Learning engaged Public Works to
identify best practices and innovative approaches for how child care
subsidies are being used to fund quality early learning programs for
low-income children. Specifically, our team examined 1) how states are leveraging Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) resources to improve quality; 2) how states are addressing the subsidized child care dilemma to balance the issues of access, affordability, quality and continuity; and 3) best practice ideas that Washington leaders might consider for adaptation to Washington’s program.
Read the full report here: WA State Child Care Report
Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary Education System
In May 2011, the West Virginia Governor’s Office retained Public Works to conduct a state-level
management and operations review of the Department of Education, as well as a sample of
local districts and regional service areas. This review included an emphasis on the full range
of personnel issues such as recruitment, hiring, evaluation, and compensation to determine
if the education system is or is not in line with other state departments. We looked at services
provided directly by the department, as well as contracts and out-sourced services.
Read the full report here: WVDE Report Final
New Mexico Public Education Department Customer Service Performance Review
The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) engaged Public Works to assess
program performance and customer satisfaction with three key PED areas of service
and to develop recommendations to help the Department improve its ability to meet
the needs of two of its primary customers – administrators and teachers. Public
Works was asked to employ an “organizational development and continuous
improvement” lens in its analysis. This report is focused on developing realistic solutions to improve performance and customer service in the areas of teacher licensure, accountability and assessment and charter schools. It also assesses how PED performs in its delivery of products and services to key customer groups. Read the full report here: NM Public Education Department Performance Customer Service Review
California Student Aid Commission: Performance Review of EdFund
The California Student Aid Commission retained Public Works to review and assess the
effectiveness of its non-profit loan auxiliary, EDFUND. In reviewing the organization, which
administers financial aid loan guarantee programs for students attending public and private
universities, colleges, and vocational schools, our team reviewed organizational structure,
internal administrative processes, management functions, and workforce development practices.
Read the full report here: CA EdFund Performance Review.
New Orleans Recovery School District Performance Review
Public Works conducted a preliminary review of nine Recovery School District (RSD)
functional areas to identify opportunities for efficiencies with emphasis on those Central
Office areas that, at the time, were performed by both RSD and the Orleans Parish School
Board (OPSB). The nine operational areas include: Procurement, Transportation, Safety
and Security, Food Services, Facilities, Information Technology, Human Resources,
Academics (Curriculum and Instruction) and Athletics.
Read the full report here: New Orleans Recovery School District Performance Review.