Crisis and confidence: The changing faces of the school business official

Sharon Ann Burkybile Kerr, Fordham University


Since the early 1980s, researchers indicated that school business officials will be leaving their educational positions at an increasing rate and thereby creating numerous vacancies. The responses of 458 school business officials to a modified Dembowski (1991) survey provided a wealth of information regarding the characteristics and issues of concern to the targeted official addressing the six research questions of this study. The current school business official was primarily white, occupied the position for an average of 13 years, and was characterized as an effective communicator and leader with the utmost concern for values and ethics. However, the male official tended to be better educated and reported more experience in the field of education than his female counterpart. When questioned regarding the strategies and board policies that would increase the retention of the current officials, both male and female respondents reported (a) larger than usual salary increases, (b) flexible work schedules, and (c) fully paid health coverage after retirement as important. With respect to important methods of professional training that would aid the official, both male and female respondents endorsed (a) on-the-job training, (b) workshops and seminars, and (c) mentorship programs. When asked to identify the characteristics of ideal candidates for vacant school business official positions, the male and female respondents overwhelmingly checked "values and ethics" as the most important characteristic, with leadership skills as second in importance. The respondents also reported the "experience as an educator" and "adherence to policy" were considerably less important in profiling in an advertisement targeted at attracting the ideal candidate.

Subject Area

School administration|School finance

Recommended Citation

Kerr, Sharon Ann Burkybile, "Crisis and confidence: The changing faces of the school business official" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9638368.