Tough Choices: How Principals Sustain Response to Intervention Programs During Times of Budgetary Constraint

Adrian Miles Thompson, Georgia Southern University


Author's abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine how principals effectively manage to sustain RTI programs in environments of budgetary constraint. The researcher utilized a qualitative approach while exploring this issue. Twenty-five elementary school principals from southeast Georgia were invited to participate in individual 60 - 90 minute interviews. The first ten elementary school principals with at least one year of experience who responded to the invitations were selected to participate in the interviews. Transcriptions from the interviews were then analyzed to identify themes and categories to be discussed in the findings. All of the principals in this study indicated that their schools had experienced changes due to budgetary constraints placed on them by the recent recession. The participants reported that these affects were felt in a variety of areas such as school personnel, professional development, the ability to provide materials, and special programs. Although all of the principals in the study indicated that their RTI programs had been impacted by budgetary constraints, they all indicated that they were managing to sustain their RTI programs through a variety of different strategies. Strategies involving utilization of school personnel, providing professional development, securing materials needed for RTI, and use of creative scheduling were all used by the principals in this study to sustain their RTI programs.