Monday, April 10, 2006

HAFTR & Rambam - Analysis: Administration & Education

When two corporations merge, duplicate positions exist. A corporation need only CEO, one board of directors, one administrative staff, etc. Usually there are savings as duplicate positions are eliminated. But this case is different. Rambam and HAFTR are *not* merging. They're just becoming "partners."

As a result, Hochbaum will be joining Rambam as an Asst. Principal, presumably to take up the slack from the time that Friedman and Eliach must spend on running the whole show. Bajnon isn't mentioned, presumably HAFTR will need a new religious studies principal. Instead of four principals across the two schools, we're now talking about 3 for Rambam (Friedman, Eliach, Hochbaum) and at least two for HAFTR.

Will this partnership save on administrative costs? Probably not. Advertising budgets? They can definitely save money. Newly merged corporations can use size and economies of scale to reduce cost and offer creative products. Can Rambam and HAFTR do the same?

I don't see how. Or, more accurately, not easily. If the schools occupied the same campus, they could get away with offering fewer classes. A class of 10 AP Biology students at Rambam and HAFTR could be merged into a single 20 student class. That saved class period could be used to offer something new.

But now? How can they pull off superior academic offerings? The schools are located on two different campuses, and they aren't across the street from each other. In other words, high
level AP courses would need to be doubled (read; maintained at their current rate).

On the other hand, with the partnership it will be easier for teachers to go between schools. Eliach may give courses on Zionism at HAFTR, which were precluded beforehand, for obvious
reasons. HAFTR, which (probably) offers a wider variety of courses may find some of their courses mirrored at Rambam, if only because its cheaper to get the teacher to teach at Rambam
(its probably cheaper to have a teacher for an extra course than hire a new teacher for an extra course), and therefore financially viable for fewer students.

Leaving the world of economics, there is a very positive intangible (economically) aspect to the deal. Friedman and Eliach bring to HAFTR a vision which they appear to be lacking (if only evidenced by the turnover of top administration in the last few years). That vision can help drive HAFTR during the upcoming years. Additionally, because they're coming in "at the top" they may have more independance that the current HAFTR administration. Indeed with that power, they can give more of a voice the current administration by following the positive policies and directives which may exist.

To summarize, I don't really see how the new partnership can leverage their size and save money. While courses will cross-pollinate (academic courses at Rambam and primarily more Zionism-tinged courses at HAFTR) I don't see it as truly saving money, though whether its more expensive is an open question. But on an intangible level, I think Friedman's vision and drive, as well as that of Eliach, will help HAFTR.

Next: Not sure yet, but probably Hashkafah, the future, and a conclusion.