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The School District Funding Challenge: How Technology and Optimization Can Help Reduce Costs

Monday November 6, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EST

School District Funding Challenge

Presented by Dr. Gabe Soumakian, Former Superintendent, League of Innovative Schools, Oxnard, CA; Dr. Rick Miller, Former Superintendent, Santa Ana Unified School District and Riverside Unified School District, CA; and Larry Cocco, Digital Learning Evangelist and Former Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the New Jersey DOE


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In education, we are living in an age of emerging trends and technologies, increasing diversity, greater accountability, and reduced budgets. School districts are under intense pressure to meet the learning needs of their students, the professional development needs of their staff, and an accelerating pace of change—with limited financial resources.

At the same time, superintendents are grappling with how they will balance their districts’ budgets with the ongoing increase of medical premiums and the massive escalation of pension contributions from both the employer and the employees. There is a sense of urgency to examine cost reduction and cost optimization strategies to offset the medical and pension increases.

These looming fiscal challenges make it even more important for school districts to reduce costs and optimize the use of technology and currently available resources. Districts will need to determine how to automate processes and enhance operational efficiency through innovative solutions to offset the rising cost and repurpose the savings toward mission critical projects such as the integration of technology solutions.

In this edWebinar, watch a provocative discussion of these issues with Dr. Gabe Soumakian, Dr. Rick Miller, and Larry Cocco, as they bring their years of expertise in these areas to an exploration of ways school districts can rise to the challenge. This recorded panel discussion will be of particular interest to school superintendents, but also to any educator involved in school and district funding, technology, and optimization.

gabe soumakianAbout the Presenters

Dr. Gabe Soumakian is the retired superintendent, League of Innovative Schools, Oxnard, CA. He has been actively involved and presented at numerous leadership organizations, including ACSA, AASA, CSBA, CALSA, Partnership for the 21st Century, TICAL on topics of Personnel, 21st Century Learning, eLearning Summit, Personalized Learning Summit, and Linked Learning Convening. Most recently, Dr. Soumakian serves on the CoSN Superintendent’s Advisory Council, Future Ready Leaders Panel of Visionary Educators, and the NAF Leadership Fellow. Dr. Soumakian was recognized as one of 10 superintendents who were accepted as a Lexington Education Leadership Award (LELA) Fellow in conjunction with EdElements. He has over 35 years of education experience, including 18 years of high school teaching.

Rick MillerDr. Rick Miller has served the last 27 years as a school district superintendent. Most recently he has served in the Santa Ana Unified School District and Riverside Unified School District in California. Dr. Miller has taught at the elementary and secondary levels and has been an elementary and high school principal. The focus of his 40-year career as a school administrator has been on school reform and improved student achievement in diverse settings. He has also co-founded a collaborative assistance program for teachers and administrators and concentrated his organizational efforts on building more collaborative structures within our school organizations. Dr. Miller is passionate about student learning and reduction of the learning gap between various student populations.

He currently serves on a number of state and national advisory boards including: Consortium On Reaching Excellence in Education (CORE), Advisory Board; Latino Film Institute Youth Cinema Project, Advisory Board; SchoolCNXT, Advisory Board; Lancer Educational Housing Corporation, Board of Directors; and National Advisory Council on Cybersecurity. Dr. Miller has been recognized with a number of awards including: Mike Kneale Educational Excellence in Leadership Award; Community Service Award, Riverside NAACP; Honorary Doctorate of Letters, California Baptist University; Champion for Justice, Riverside County Fair Housing Council; and the 2008 Educational Leadership Award, University Council for Educational Administration, University of California Santa Barbara.

larry cocco Laurence Cocco is a digital learning evangelist, looking to transform learning strategies through the incorporation of emerging technologies and brain-based learning theory. Formerly the director of the office of educational technology for the New Jersey Department of Education, he served on the Board of Directors for the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) and was recognized in 2014 as the State Leader of the Year. He has been a member of Thirteen/WNET’s Educational Services Advisory Committee since 2006. A proponent of game-based learning, Laurence co-founded Games4Ed to assist educators who want to incorporate gaming strategies into teaching and learning. Additional experience includes Principal K-12 Technology Consultant at Office Depot, Media Integration Project Director at Jersey City Public Schools and Senior Audiovisual Designer for Cosentini Information Technologies. Laurence has an M.A. in educational communication & technology from NYU.

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