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Purchasing and Distributing
Supplies and Equipment

Making each school a distinct unit with an individual
budget and giving the principal full control of purchas-
ing have effected considerable economy in one school system


5. Unless a large inventory is carried by the supply department prompt and efficient service is not always possible.

N RECENT years one of the most discussed equipment cause decidedly unnecessary expense. problems in school business administration has 4. Under the central storeroom plan schools been the purchasing and distributing of sup- usually order more than they need. This causes plies and equipment. School magazines have a trimming of requisitions by the supply departgiven considerable space to budgetary procedure ment. A situation of this kind results in the and stores control. We, in the business depart- business department and the various schools ment of the Evansville schools, believe we have working against one another's best interest. one of the best methods of handling supplies in the country. It is unique, in that first, the principal is given full control of the purchasing for his school, and second, any principal effecting a saving is directly benefited by it. As in most city schools our purchasing is done annually on a bid basis. However, any school that is financially able may make miscellaneous purchases at any time. It is the purpose of this article to point out how our system differs from those used in other cities.

Central Storeroom Inefficient

Practically all school systems of any size have a central storeroom. All goods purchased are sent to this central store, or in large systems to substores, and the various schools get what they need by requisitioning. It has been my observation that this system, although universally used, is not efficient. This conclusion is based on the following facts:

1. In a large system it is necessary to carry a large inventory and much money is tied up in "dead stock." Supply lists change and much material on the shelves is never called for.

2. The most careful control from a central office cannot guarantee the elimination of waste in the various schools. Reports made of the amounts and quantities of commodities used by the different schools of a city and submitted to the various principals arouse only a passing interest. As long as there is no real incentive for economy the principals and teachers of a building do not worry about the cost.

3. The maintenance of a central storeroom and the handling and rehandling of supplies and

The Evansville Plan

In view of the above conditions we have departed from the conventional system of purchasing and distributing supplies and have adopted one that not only promotes economy by supplying each school with a real incentive for saving, but also one that makes it possible for the business department to render prompt and efficient service. The outline of our plan is as follows:

1. Each school is equipped with an individual storeroom large enough to hold its year's supply of everything needed. We have no central storeroom at all.

2. We do our buying early-in March or April-and everything for the next year is delivered to the individual school storerooms before school is out in June. For instance, when our regular ten months' term ended in June, 1928, all buildings had in their storerooms the supplies and small equipment for the school year, September, 1928, to June, 1929. When school opens in September teachers, supervisors, and janitors find practically everything that is needed for the ensuing year.

3. Before we do our buying, there are sent to each principal early in January, standard lists of supplies and equipment for all departments. These lists are revised each year and are kept up-to-date by departmental supervisors, principals, and teachers. Each principal, with the aid of his teachers, and head janitor, makes up his annual order from these lists. Teachers and

janitors, from past experience, are able to determine to a fairly accurate degree what instructional material and equipment they will need for the coming year.

4. The outstanding point of merit in our system is that each school is placed on a strict budget basis, and the principal of each school held responsible for his budget. Before the schools make out their annual requisitions they are allotted certain amounts of money. Of course, they do not actually get this money, but it serves as a drawing account and every school knows that its expenditures for the year cannot go over that amount.

Items in Principals' Budget

The principals' budget for 1928-1929 calls for an expenditure of $22,000 for the high schools, and an expenditure of $34,100 for the elementary schools as shown in Table I. Besides the minimum amounts set aside in the beginning, it allows a per capita of $4.00 in the high schools, and of $2.00 in the elementary schools. Any expenditure for any of the following items will come out of the principals' budget: (1) Instructional supplies; (2) janitors' and engineers' supplies; (3) supervisors' supplies; (4) repair and replacement of instructional apparatus; (5) repair and replacement of furniture; (6) repair and replacement of other equipment; (7) books and re

pairs; (8) additional furniture; and (9) additional instructional apparatus.

It is our intention to keep each school supplied with pupils' desks. Whenever it is necessary to put in a new room of desks or replace broken desks, this expense does not come out of the budget. However, we reserve the right to decide. whether or not such additions or changes are necessary. Often teachers desire tables or new desks in their rooms, when we feel that they are not absolutely necessary. This expense will come out of the budget. We feel that there is sufficient money in the budget to take care of replacements of teachers' desks and small equipment whenever it is necessary for the principal to make this replacement. Each principal should look into the future far enough to determine expenditures for replacements during the year, and provide for same before completely exhausting his budget for the year.

Freedom Allowed Principal

5. All of our standard supply lists carry approximate prices so that each principal can adjust his expenditures to his budget. The principals are not limited to these standard lists. If they have sufficient money in their budgets after ordering necessities for the year, they may buy anything that their schools need. Each principal carries a safe amount in his budget for emer

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gencies that may arise during the school year.

6. When each school has completed its annual requisition it sends it to the business office. We tabulate the requisitions and know, of course, the exact number of cases of paper towels to order; the exact number of floor brushes; the exact number of packages of cutting paper; etc. We buy nothing by guess work. Everything bought is for some particular school, and we know that that school is going to use it to advantage. We have done away with a central storeroom because there is no need for one. When we do our purchasing all miscellaneous supplies and equipment are marked by the vendor for the different schools so that when they arrive they can be sent directly to the storerooms. Under this system we get the advantage of quantity prices and at the same time put as much of the detail work on the vendor as is possible. The local firms from whom we buy deliver everything directly to the schools.

We think that our system places the control of supplies exactly where it must be to get results, and that is, in the individual schools. It also makes this control mean something because economy on the part of principal, teachers, and janitors results in definite and worthwhile advantages to that school. Each principal knows the amount of money available for his school and is naturally placed in a position where he has to know not only what is being ordered but also what becomes of everything. Articles, such as chalk, paper, ink, scissors, paper towels, etc., that are often carelessly used, are now carefully watched and controlled, because the principal and his teachers know that any saving effected will mean just that much more money left in the budget for things that the school desires.

System Eliminates Waste

Before this system went into effect here, some of the schools used from two to four times as much of certain articles as was being used in other schools. These discrepancies were evident but seemed to be beyond control. Any pointing out of waste was always met with the argument that "conditions were different in that school," and that there was really no way of taking care of the situation. However, when it was proved that any saving made directly benefited the school, these discrepancies began to take care of themselves. We are beginning to see that schools of about the same size are striking an average in the quantity and amounts of various supplies used. The principals are seeing to it that nothing is being wasted and are finding out just how much of everything their schools should use.

For instance, we will say that a school has

$3,000 in its yearly budget. That school has been in the habit of using $1,800 worth of staple supplies. This would leave the school $1,200 to take care of miscellaneous items and various emergencies that might arise during the school year. If the principal of that school can effect a twenty per cent saving in the use of these supplies he will have $360 more to apply on the purchase of something desirable for the school. It is surprising to notice the real saving that may be made when a worthy incentive for saving is once supplied.

Results of Two Years' Experience

The following worthwhile results have grown. out of two years' experience with our system of purchasing and distributing supplies:

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The reduction of inventories to a minimum. A plan that gives schools what they want, when they want it.

6. A means whereby a principal can, by carefully following his budget, secure those things that his school particularly needs. The matter of school accounting is made simple and accurate. We carry a disbursement ledger by schools and can at any time tell any principal how much he has left in his budget. Because every purchase is made for some particular school, all claims can easily be divided by schools and entered in the disbursement ledger.

Each month we send to every school an itemized statement of its expenditures for the preceding month. This statement shows every purchase, where it was made, and gives the price. This enables the principal to determine at a glance where his money is going and how much he has left. The first year we used the budget plan only one school out of twenty-one exhausted its allotment before the end of the year. The operation of the budget is an important piece of business with each principal and they all try to regulate their expenditures for the best interest of their schools.

According to a statement made public recently, the general director of the school-health study of the American Child Health Association reports that of seventy representative cities in which that association is now conducting a special study only seven employ no school physician, and only three have no school nurses.

Steps in Equalizing Educational


There is one step in equalizing educational opportunities for all school children that is possible of realization. That is to place within the reach of every child no matter where he attends school, not only the best textbooks available, but also other reading materials that are profitable and interesting to him. The library law enacted by the last general assembly of the Iowa legislature is a step in this direction that should lead to more adequate provisions for an abundance of enriched reading experiences for our school children. It is essential in any program of equalization of educational opportunities that every child have easy access to abundant reading material for work and recreational purposes of school and life outside the school.

Good Course of Study Essential

Another essential is related to the course of study. If the high-school tuition law guaranteeing free high-school privileges to the country children is to work out with impartiality for all, if every rural eighth-grade graduate is to be given an equal chance in winning the coveted eighthgrade diploma and high-school tuition certificate, there should be in the hands of the country teacher and the county superintendent a good, usable course of study setting forth the standards of attainment for each grade, in short, a state course of study. This is a real magna charta need of to-day in equalizing educational opportunities without changing the status of organization of districts. Such a course of study is now being prepared by the Iowa Department of Public Instruction to supply the needs of 25,000 teachers and 334,788 elementary-school children of that state. The active assistance of one hundred educators has been drafted for this service, and the indications are that they have produced a course of study better than any yet in print. It is to be the theme of study for every teachers institute in Iowa during the first week of September.

A Definite Tool

These institutes are called at that time not only in the interests of efficiency, but also for economy's sake. The institute should be a definite tool in the supervisory program of the county, not a shopping excursion, a vacation on pay, a high-class vaudeville, or lyceum performance. Teachers should participate in the meeting and work out minimum essentials in the various subjects. There should be a definite theme for the

program. It is hoped to try out a plan making the institute function as a definite part of the educational program of the county and to introduce the new course of study at the opening of the school year so all schools may have the benefit of it early. Furthermore, this will eliminate all vacations for institute purposes after school is really started this fall, an advantage that is highly recommended.

Still another essential in this program of approaching equal educational advantages is an upto-date, enriched course of study setting forth standards of achievement for each elementary grade.

Three Vital Needs

These ABC essentials as expressed in three crucial and vital needs for every school child-a sanitary and wholesome schoolroom, an adequate supply of desirable reading materials, and an enriched curriculum-need the inspiration and leadership of a trained and devoted teacher in order to make them function properly. The good teacher is the Alpha and Omega of all equalization programs. It is a great privilege to think and work out the big achievements that the present age praises. As has been said by F. Louise Nardin, Dean of Women, University of Wisconsin, if one of us had a factory making a fabulous number of tops a day, and owned such a big business that every weekly magazine carried a two-page picture showing a boy spinning one of our tops under the shadow of a black tent in an Eastern desert, and the next week showed an Eskimo beaming at a twin brother of the Arab's top, we should recognize an achievement. tops, but spinners of tops and fliers of kites and aeroplanes are our product, a product that should approach perfection when it leaves our hands.

The Opportunity of Guidance


Though we never invent a tool, we are helping to launch young imaginations into the fruitful current of this scientific and inventive age. It is a great thing to add a machine or a scientific law or a poem or a prayer to that body of knowledge and faith by which man's hungers of body and soul are fed. It is no small thing to be the guide by whom another generation is led into these ampler halls of man's spirit. We are not merchants and explorers, but we are the merchants by whose hands the things we call civilization-what Phideas carved and Socrates died for-come to be the possessions of young hearts. In our booths they outfit the caravans for a never ending journey.-Agnes Samuelson, superintendent of public instruction, Iowa.



Editor in Chief PROFESSOR M. V. O'SHEA

The University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.

Executive Editor JOHN A. MCNAMARA



Ex-president, N. E. A., Richmond, Va.

State Supt. of Public Instruction, Springfield, Ill.
University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.

Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.
University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.

Supt. of Schools, Monrovia, Cal.
Supt. of Public Instruction, Sacramento, Cal.
Jeannes and Slater Funds, Charlottesville, Va.
School of Hygiene, Peabody College, Nashville, Tenn.

Headmaster St. Paul's School, Concord, N. H.
Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis.

Dept. of Educational Administration, University of Wis.

Yale Psycho-Clinic, New Haven, Conn.
Supt., Culver Military Academy, Culver, Ind.
Ohio State University, Columbus, O.
Commissioner of Education, New York State
Texas Technological College, Lubbock, Texas.
County Supt. of Schools, Youngstown, O.
State Teachers College, Ypsilanti, Mich.

Supt. of Schools, Toledo, O.


Wisconsin General Hospital, Madison, Wis.


Florida State College for Women, Tallahassee, Fla.

Commissioner of Education, Boston, Mass.

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

Principal, Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.

Supt. of Schools, Dayton, O.

Supt. of Schools, Atlanta, Ga.

Dept. of Psychology, Stanford University, Cal.

Lawrence College, Appleton, Wis.


County Supt. of Schools, Chicago, Ill.


University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N. C.
Supt. of Schools, Winnetka, Ill.
Yale University, New Haven, Conn.



Do Not Permit Pupils to Fail

HOOSE at random one hundred pupils of any age and set them all at a task that will test their confidence, persistence, and endurance. It will be found that some of the pupils will abandon the task easily, saying that they cannot perform it, while others will keep at it a long time in the effort to overcome difficulties, no matter how hard they may seem to be or how much persistence is necessary in order to succeed. There may be about ten of the number who will not give up at all; they will have confidence that if they keep at the task they can find a way to surmount the obstacles that lie in their path. There may be a few of the number who will scarcely attempt the task; they will experience defeat as soon as they begin. Most of the pupils will be ranged between the extremes-those at one end who have very little confidence, persistence, or endurance, and those at the other end who believe that they are capable of winning out in almost any situation in which they may be placed.

Attitude of Defeat or Victory

Why is there such a wide difference among these pupils? Those who quickly give up have got into the habit of giving up when they confront difficulties. They have what the psychologist calls the attitude of defeat. In the past they have easily given up when they have found barriers in their path, until now they have no confidence in their ability to overcome difficulties. There is a voice within each one that keeps saying "You cannot succeed; you will fail. So what's the use of trying? You may as well give up now as to keep on struggling." And they have listened to and obeyed this voice of defeat so often that it has gained complete mastery over them.

Why do some of the pupils persevere in their efforts to succeed in overcoming difficulties? Because they have persisted in the past and they have as a rule succeeded, and they believe now that if they keep at a task they can find a way to perform it. There is a voice within each one that keeps saying-"Don't give up. You have always had success when you continued long enough, and you can succeed now. Don't let this thing bully you. Show that you can master it." They have listened to and obeyed this voice so frequently in the past that now it is the driving force in their lives. This is why they are usually successful and

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