On Thursday, the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District will hear a presentation by Margaret Roza about innovative ways to cut costs. Roza was for many years a fellow at the Center for Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington, a pro-school choice think tank. Now she is director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University, offering advice and analyses about school finance. The Lab has many high-profile funders, including the John and Laura Arnold Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.

Roza has been critical in her writings of class size reduction and has recommended saving money by cutting teachers’ pensions and benefits (which she called “Frozen Assets” in a 2007 paper of that name).

A decade ago, Leonie Haimson debated Roza on these topics and took issue with her view of saving money.

Roza and her associate Katherine Silberstein will address the Innovations Committee of the LAUSD board on Thursday.

They will warn the board to Beware of adding recurring costs!

Consider one-time expenses:

Stipends(e.g. for tutoring, summer school

Contractors(e.g. nurses, tutors)

One-time hazard pay

One-time summer school

Temporarily added weeks of school

Pay for family efforts

Instead of recurring expenses:

New hires (e.g. nurses, counselors, VP, teachers, tutors)

Base pay raises: Across-the-board % raises, COLAs

•Increased benefits

Permanent calendar changes

Changes to class sizes

©2021 Edunomics Lab, Georgetown University 

So, Rosa is still promoting the idea that teachers should not get increased benefits or across-the-board raises or cost-of-living expenses. She is still critical of reducing class sizes.

Is any of this innovative? It may mean saving money, but how will it improve teacher professionalism or education?

Download the pdf here.