School districts across the nation are caught between decreasing funding and rising expectations. Ron Steiger, assistant chief budget officer for the Miami-Dade County public schools in Florida, described in an Education Week commentary how his district dealt with a $50 million midyear state funding cut by shrinking the size of the central office staff by 25 percent, relocating employees to the classroom, and refocusing the budget on direct student support and smaller class sizes. "We benchmarked ourselves against other large districts, and made changes that saved millions on transportation, food service and school administration," he wrote. "We drastically cut overtime and nonessential spending on supplies" — steps that help put the district "in its strongest financial position in a decade," he said.It isn't easy to find ways to use dollars more flexibly, Steiger said: But "to create districts that can flexibly streamline during financial crises, we must start with open and honest conversations about where dollars are being spent, and why. That conversation is difficult and requires a great deal of political will, which, in our case, the superintendent and school board had."