Afton supported a large urban school district to identify and quantify actionable initiatives to improve the efficiency of how the District operates
Overview: Afton was retained by the District of Columbia Public Schools (“DCPS”) to assist in developing detailed financial and operational analyses, as well as implementation plans, to support the newly elected Mayor’s “One City” efficiency initiative.
Background: A newly elected mayor of Washington, DC required city agencies to identify and quantify initiatives to improve efficiency throughout each organization. The District reached out to Afton for assistance in developing detailed analyses and implementation plans to realize savings from identified initiatives.
Scope: Afton supported DCPS senior management to gather and analyze data, and project cost savings and revenue enhancement scenarios for the Mayor’s One City initiative. Afton was responsible for developing a detailed fact base, analyzing current investment trends, quantifying alternatives, and drafting implementation timelines for each initiative.
Process: Afton conducted interviews with all relevant members of senior staff to identify key opportunities, and developed a streamlined list for senior leadership review and approval. To quantify the long-term impact of the identified initiatives, Afton collected most recent financial and operating data from the district and incorporated the data in a five-year projection.
Outcomes: DCPS submitted six cost reduction and revenue enhancement initiatives to the Mayor’s office (and was the first submission among all District agencies) with projected five-year impact of $162M (or $32M per year). The initiatives included detailed analyses and implementation plans associated with improving the process to staff dedicated aides, improve the efficiency of custodial services, and reduce overall payroll costs.
Developing actionable implementation plans for cost saving initiatives requires close coordination within and among District administrative departments. Afton worked closely with District support functions, including Human Capital and Legal departments, to understand contractual or legal challenges associated with implementing cost savings initiatives and address those challenges in the implementation plans. This work was not only about quantifying potential cost savings, but about how the District could realistically realize these savings given existing constraints.
Creating a common format to quantify impact of efficiency initiatives is crucial to both identifying risks and one-time costs required to realize long term savings. All recommendations included a steady-state forecast, estimated one-time costs to realize long-term savings, as well as implementation risks associated with each initiative. This format, along with the five-year time frame for cost savings, allowed for city leadership to prioritize opportunities to implement, while setting realistic expectations for short- and long-term outcomes.