Public-private partnerships have proven a useful strategy for school districts to reduce expenditures and expand the educational opportunities for their students. By contracting out for services, school districts can take advantage of the competitive efficiencies offered by the private sector, freeing them to focus on their core concern: student performance. As greater numbers of schools look to the private sector for innovative, economical, or expert solutions, more private sector firms will be formed to meet those needs.
Widescale use of contracting will depend on school districts' willingness to consider alternative providers in areas traditionally handled by the public sector. Organizational resistance to change and employee opposition can be an obstacle to privatization. However, by working with public-employee organizations, privatization can be implemented in a manner that minimizes disruption.
Legislative reforms such as charter schools, which provide local educators with greater decision-making authority, enhance the opportunities for private sector contracting and should be encouraged. Changing the legislative and political processes which govern public schools can have a significant impact on managerial efficiency.
The great value of public-private partnerships and contracting arrangements is that they harness competitive efficiencies to the benefit of student welfare. Monopolies are inherently inefficient organizational structures, and introducing competition in the provision of public education has the potential to stretch available resources and improve services.
Greater school autonomy and de-bureaucratization are essential aids to school administrators in their efforts to better serve students. Public schools can make better use of scarce resources by decentralizing decision-making, flattening their hierarchical structures, and returning control to the local level. Doing so would enable school administrators to more easily employ the management strategies outlined in this study.