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Middle School Funding
Mr. Toby Eirich, former principal of Westmar Middle School in Lonaconing, MD, and
Mr. Kevin Windows, Principal of Bedford Middle School, Bedford Pennsylvania, spoke of
common concerns with regard to the amount of funding that is necessary to operate a school and
is also attentive to and satisfies the needs of the faculty and the building’s maintenance. Both
principals expressed that although they try to please everybody, many times there simply is not
enough money to meet all of the demands. Furthermore, both discussed what decisions must be
made when determining the allocation of funds and how those decisions are made. Although
similarities existed between the principals, state regulations and county policies with regard to
how and where monies must be managed and accounted for differed between states.
Although a lack of funding was evident and discussed in both school systems, both
principals expressed that they had a common goal to satisfy their teachers’ needs and the needs
of the school. For example, Mr. Toby Eirich informed the class that every fall he was given
$5697.00 for his school. He stated that although on paper it appeared that he was given a
substantial amount of money, one must consider that those funds were to be used for all of the
disciplines of the school and for the school needs themselves. Consequently, when making
decisions regarding the needs of every educational discipline and the aesthetic needs of the
school, he was forced to determine where the need existed most and spend accordingly.
According to Mr. Eirich, this budget is spent quickly. For example, if the faculty room needed
new furniture, that money would come out of this budget. Moreover, if faculty members
requested supplemental classroom materials, he would have to use money from this fund as well.
Mr. Eirich discussed that, at times, there were requests for more expensive items that
would use most of the funds and that unfortunately the budget simply did not allow for these
items to be purchased. For example, his school needed a new curtain for the stage; however, the

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funds simply weren’t there. Consequently, one of the students from his school actually came in
on his own time and sewed the curtain back together. Furthermore, Mr. Eirich noted that he tries
to balance the money that he gives each department so he feels that he is being fair to all
disciplines.
Mr. Windows discussed having to make very similar decisions with his faculty and stated
that he always tried to make sure he was fair with his decisions, and that at times would tell
faculty members to submit what they needed, and he would attempt to get it in the next year’s
budget if it wasn’t feasible at the time. He also admitted that it was frustrating when he could
not purchase everything that his faculty desired. Both principals made it very clear that they
tried to disburse these funds evenly and with the consideration of what was needed at the time.
With regard to the Central Office, similarities existed in both schools concerning audits
and proof of where the money was spent. In Allegany County, two types of budget allocations
exist. Principals are given money to spend on items for their schools, and there is also a budget
allocation for instructional and maintenance supplies. For these costs, principals must send an
invoice to the Central Office and get approval to spend money on the item or the service.
Typically, this budget is around $22000.00, but the class was reminded that a large portion of this
money must be allocated to cover the operations and maintenance of school copy machines.
This amount is close to $19000.00. Principals from each state discussed that depending on who
is requesting the materials, purchase orders must be completed and signed by the faculty member
and the principal and must go through the financial secretary or financial designee at the
building. Depending on what budget this money is coming from, the invoice is either kept at the
school or sent to the Central Office for approval. Furthermore, both principals discussed that two
people, usually the principal and the secretary, are responsible for signing the checks for any
money spent. One major difference with regard to the “in-house” budget is that in Pennsylvania,

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the money used for substitute teachers comes from site-based funds. Furthermore, Mr. Windows
noted that at his school, he funds three field trips a year, and that money also comes from sitebased funds.
According to Mr. Eirich and Mr. Windows, misallocation of funds is a number one cause
for an administrator to lose his or her job. In order to ensure financial accuracy in both school
systems, audits are completed each year. In Allegany County, an outside audit is completed. Mr.
Eirich explained that two people review records for accuracy or inconsistencies. In Bedford
County, PA, an external force completes the audit. Once this outside audit is completed, it is
presented to the Board of Education. Mr. Windows discussed the importance of the accuracy of
this audit and that failure to be able to show where money was spent is a cause for dismissal.
Both principals stressed the importance of having a competent financial secretary, and Mr. Eirich
even joked that his secretary kept him in line. Furthermore, both principals stressed the
importance of surrounding themselves with “good” people, and one even mentioned that when
he knew he was going to have a job opening, he would recruit people to come to his school.
Principals from both states discussed the importance for grants and the necessity of
having staff members who are willing to write those grants. For example, Mr. Eirich spoke of
the SPARK grant that earned $130000.00 in grant money toward health and PE equipment, but
he also said that the most difficult issue with grants is that someone must be responsible to
manage the money and that the money given for the grant may only be spent on certain items.
Mr. Windows discussed the Century 21 Grant that provided funding for bussing for the after
school program. He also addressed the issue of the importance of having a grant writer and
personnel who could manage the account.
Both principals discussed the needs and the headaches of fundraisers. Mr. Windows
stated that he usually has a goal to clear $2000.00 a year for his fundraisers, but he also stated
that the money from fundraisers rarely absorbs the cost of the field trips for his school. Mr.

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Eirich also stressed the value of fundraisers and discussed that he is able to buy extra items for
the school depending on the success of the fundraiser. For example, when schools in Allegany
County want to have some type of incentive for students whether it is an ice-cream social or
similar activity, funds from fundraisers can be used for these activities.
A major difference between the two states is that in Pennsylvania, a budget exists for
athletics in their middle schools. In Allegany County Maryland, there are no organized middle
school sports programs associated with the school system. Mr. Windows informed the class that
there is and athletic fund for these middle school sports for uniforms and equipment; however, he
also stated that although he is fortunate to have sports in his school and a very experienced
athletic director, he still at times has to hear from parents who feel their child was treated unfairly
by the coach One more additional piece of information regarding middle school sports Mr.
Windows noted was that coaches are rehired every year.
Finding ways to financially fund a school is demanding, and unfortunately principals
must make decisions that may not be popular with everyone. Mr. Eirich and Mr. Windows
discussed how they made these difficult decisions and still maintained a balanced account.
Without a doubt, both principals seemed to have the desire to please their faculty members and
stressed the importance of listening to the rationale of why money should be spent on certain
items. It was refreshing to listen to two principals who cared, supported, and addressed the
needs of their faculties, students, and buildings.