Dublin Villager

District officials hope 'LeanOhio Boot Camp' will improve efficiency

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Superintendent Todd Hoadley is hoping a summer boot camp will help the district shed expenses.

Last week 13 employees attended the LeanOhio Boot Camp, an effort from Gov. John Kasich's office to help public sector employees learn the efficiency method used by businesses.

"My personal overall mission is to bring the methodology of continuous improvement of Lean Six Sigma to the business-point of how we run Dublin City Schools," Hoadley said.

Lean Six Sigma was at the core of a Straight A Fund request Hoadley submitted to the Ohio Department of Education.

The idea didn't make the first round of grants, but the district is still awaiting word on a request in the second round.

The LeanOhio Boot Camp was funded by Kasich's office and offered at Coffman High School.

"It's something Kasich's administration brought forward to help public entities bring in the Lean Six Sigma operational excellence to operations that are tax-payer supported," Hoadley said, adding municipalities, fire and police departments are getting in on the act.

During this boot camp, the district's director of transportation, secretaries and employees from IT, support and food services participated.

"It's all people that provide important support across the district and continue to make sure those operations run as efficiently as possible to make sure we're not pulling funds out of the classroom to fund operations," Hoadley said.

A few employees from maintenance and IT have already gone through the camp and Hoadley said a partnership with Ohio State University's Fisher Business School helped the district institute an improved hiring process.

"The recommendations we put in place are to shorten the length of time it takes to hire people," Hoadley said.

"At this time of year we're in competition with neighboring school districts for the best talent, so if something like our processes for hiring were a little slow we could lose out on great candidates to another district. We've shortened timelines and it's been very helpful."

With the district's maintenance staff running lean after positions were cut from the 2011 operating levy defeat, Hoadley said Lean Six Sigma efficiencies could also be used there.

"There were deep cuts in those areas, but we're still maintaining facilities that need to be cleaned on a daily basis and kept up," he said.

Two teachers also sat in on last week's boot camp, but Hoadley said it might be a while until educators are asked to take on efficiencies.

"I want to go slow in that arena and I would like it to be teacher led," he said. "I'm intrigued to see what they can find in the classroom, but they're living in a sea of change and I don't want to add anything to their plates.

"They're plates are pretty full right now. I want to focus this on the business side right now."

But Hoadley does hope to have employees trained in Lean Six Sigma eventually.

"The citizens of Dublin passed an operating levy a few years ago and we're giving it our best effort to incorporate these Lean concepts to stretch the operating levy as far as we can and to make sure those dollars given to us are directed towards teaching and learning," he said.

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