Practical advice, inspiration, and tools for K school leaders. A community for K school leaders. We wanted to find out what works when it comes to providing students with the things they need to succeed while still keeping our schools on track financially.
Here, they share their biggest challenges, best practices and successful strategies. Download the full guide here. We made a commitment to infrastructure within our district. By doing several improvements, we have been able to reduce our operating costs and free up more resources to meet student needs. Using a different technology to heat and cool the building, we dropped our consumption of energy over the past nine years by 25 percent.
Also, we use data to track the type of calls, repairs and fixes we need to make and then allocate the staff appropriately to reduce time to complete those tickets. For example, through data tracking we found the mechanism in our lockers was causing our custodial staff to spend a great deal of time un-jamming lockers.
We went to locks for each individual locker and greatly reduced the time spent by staff on un-jamming. Is there a lot of competition between different divisions for money and resources? What do you do about it? Using the data from student achievement and where our kids are at, our administrative team can develop a budget with priorities by building. You have eliminated those silos. Having the voices of administrators who are going to be executing the strategic plan at the table to collaborate about what is the best way to allocate resources is invaluable.
Start by giving them the big picture of resources, identify strategic areas of where they need to target to them, and then work as a team to make the two match.
Communication is always the key. In the finance area, there are a lot of formulas and complex calculations that determine the amount of resources. We have created FAQ pages on our website. We monitor and track the calls that we get to determine the questions with the highest frequency and put the answers out there. For example, with transportation—understanding routing, what happens when there is a snow day, and how you will be notified. How has the way you worked with school and district administrators on your budget changed over the years?
The level of collaboration needed has changed. Twenty five year ago, it was more about focusing on the numbers and making budgets balance. Now you have to become more of a practitioner of the entire process. Now I have a much greater perspective about what is happening in the classroom, and how services are delivered. We are starting to implement a new financial management system that will change the way a lot of our businesses processes happen. I will make it available both in print and electronically.
Recently, when one contract was up for renewal for office supplies, I had the current vendors send lists of the top items we ordered and reached out to two other cooperatives for pricing and was able to get some money savings.
With custodial supplies, rather than getting quotes for buying one item at a time I worked with departments to place orders for larger volume discounts for overall savings.
In the middle of budget season there is a battle for funding—particularly when you are building new schools. The biggest thing that needs to happen is when you get an email from one person about something that affects another department is to then include the other department in the communication.
And every time they take them off the email, adding them back to it. Make sure everyone stays in the loop that is affected so they can come together to find a solution.School Budget vs School Strategic Financial Planning
What have you learned over the years that you wished someone had told you early on about what works when it comes to staying on budget?Does the word budget send chills up your spine? Budgets allow you to have some control over what you spend. A monthly budget can help you to decide how to spend your money, plan for your future, pay off existing debt, and save a few pennies each month by reducing wasteful and impulsive purchases. To create your monthly budget.
When you begin setting up a monthly budget, start with big categories before breaking your budget down into smaller expense categories. From your list of expenses, develop two separate budget lists, one for essentials and the other for extras. Within each general budget category, some items are essential the mortgage or rent payment, electric bill, and groceries ; others are extra new furniture, gifts, and pizza delivery.
Look through these lists to find flexible budget expenses where you can cut back. Subtract the essentials total from your monthly income and, if you have money left over, subtract the extras total from that amount. If you still have money left over, great!
Look into a savings or investing plan talk to your bank or a certified financial planner for help setting up a plan. If your extras list takes you into negative numbers, start looking for places to cut back. How to Create a Monthly Budget.The first thing you need to understand is the different funding streams by which the school receives its resources. You need an idea of how school funding is affecting your budgeting, particularly as certain funds eg pupil premium are vulnerable to change.
Accountability is also crucial in budgeting. You must be able to demonstrate how state funds have helped student attainment. Now you know where your funding is coming from, create a budgeting calendar and plan ahead for all scenarios. Put dates in your diary for when to file budget reports to different bodies eg the governors, the LA, Ofsted and the Department for Education DfE as formats and dates will vary.
An example of how to draw up a budget reporting spreadsheet to show month-by-month spending is below. The end goal? That proposed expenditure does not exceed proposed income. Academies are allowed to retain unspent funds as operational reserves. In the age of austerity, getting the best value for money VfM has never been so important.
You can also benchmark costs on a smaller scale. Leasing equipment is another option, but has risks. It can be useful to identify whether past purchases provided VfM to guide future spending. Ask your colleagues about the best and worst things your school has purchased in the last few years and why. Was the extra classroom assistant a better investment than the interactive whiteboard? For a more formal way of assessing VfM, consider economy, efficiency and effectiveness. Were you able to get the best quality for the lowest cost?
Where you did spend more money, did you have improved results? The whole point of VfM is to free up money for other resources in your school improvement plan.
Come with easy-to-understand, clear budget reporting sheets and be prepared to explain any holes with recommendations for avoiding them in future.
For example, if you overspent on building maintenance this year, you could suggest implementing more regular building checks to spot problem areas or negotiating better terms with your insurers and maintenance providers. Tell them how you spent less money than a neighbouring school on catering as you phoned up colleagues at another school, and agreed to partner with them and a third school for greater purchasing power.Print article.
America has a proud tradition of providing a free education to its citizens, but the amount of money spent on public education varies widely from state to state, as it does from school district to school district. These differences affect quality, making it hard to provide an equal educational opportunity for all. Historically, public schools in America have been funded largely by local property taxes.
Local revenues, however, have not kept up with the needs of the schools and have actually decreased in many states. To compensate for this change, the states have entered into the picture and backfilled these losses. And the federal money that is given to schools often comes with strings attached. In the past few decades, school financing systems have been scrutinized, revised and adjusted as the nation tries to address problems of inequity.
Paying for schools with local property taxes has been one of the main causes of unequal funding. An affluent community can raise much more money through property taxes than a poor community can, and consequently can attract better qualified teachers, build and maintain more attractive buildings, and pay for more programs and better instructional materials.
The poorer communities, precisely the ones that need more resources to educate their children, must make due with smaller pots of money. Perry explains that trying to understand calculations for per-pupil funding in California is not for the faint of heart. So every single school district has to do a calculation. Donna Kaufman, a mother of two children, and a transplant from California to New York, has had the opportunity to experience first hand the differences in per-pupil funding.
So I really was involved in teaching and that was the way the volunteering went. I participated in the classroom curriculum. So they supplement the classroom with professionals. Class size is generally lower in Long Island as well. So the class size is smaller here and the lunch programs are more varied. Most state constitutions guarantee an adequate education for their citizens.
But what is an adequate education? This question is finally being asked, and litigated, in many states. Inan appeals court ruled that New York state would be providing an adequate education if most of its citizens learned what is needed to pass the eighth or ninth grades. In North Carolina, progress is being made in linking adequacy to passing grade-level standardized tests. Inthe Williams case, filed on behalf of public school students who claimed California did not provide them with access to basic minimum standards of education, was fought and successfully settled based on adequacy arguments.
In addition to the task of determining what an adequate education means, is the equally challenging task of determining how much an adequate education costs. Carol Peck is president of the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona, which recently commissioned a report to find out what particular programs would make economic sense in making a significant difference for Arizona schools.
Our report found that there were five strategies that have proven to be effective in raising student achievement. One is full-day kindergarten for all students. Number two is preparing and recognizing teachers for high performance. The third is reducing class size.How much does it cost to provide a high school math course? What about remedial English? An Advanced Placement AP course in history? As the economic outlook continues to darken, school districts will be looking for ways to cut costs, and they will no doubt wrestle with some difficult issues.
The ins and outs of school finance
When does it make sense to keep classes small? When does it make sense to increase class sizes to cut costs? Such debates are often carried out in the absence of information about what actually happens in schools or what the options might be for reallocating scarce resources.
School districts produce reams of financial data to check off the right boxes on accounting and compliance reports required by states and the federal government.
Typically missing is any financial analysis that follows the money into the school building to the classroom. Yet the classroom is where the mission-critical work happens and where the conversion of resources into services affects student performance. Academic outcomes are one such indicator. A measure of spending that enables comparison across service areas is another. Computing spending patterns is not difficult. Per-pupil service expenditures can easily be determined at the classroom level.
This analysis computes and reports spending on various services for high schools in three anonymous districts. The findings reveal the ways in which per-pupil spending varies by subject and course level. While the findings are not intended to be suggestive of all districts in the country, the work does demonstrate how such fiscal metrics can reveal the financial implications of the inner workings of individual high schools.
How much does a high school pay to offer electives, and how does that compare to what is spent on core subject courses? What are the cost implications of decisions regarding the structure of the school schedule, which courses to offer, and who teaches what course? The findings presented in this article demonstrate how isolating spending on discrete services can 1 identify the relationships between priorities, current spending, and outcomes; 2 clarify both relative spending on discrete services and the organizational practices that influence how resources are deployed; and 3 establish the current cost of providing high school services as a necessary precursor to identifying whether there are better ways to provide some services.
The spending-on-services approach to cost analysis aims to inform strategic resource decisionmaking by zeroing in on what is provided.The purpose of a school budget is straightforward — to create and implement a financial plan, which will support appropriate funding for all programs benefiting the students.
We all know that the school budget has a deeper impact than simply keeping the school afloat. Through the pathway of best school budget practices, students will receive learning experiences of utmost quality and carry this knowledge into adult life. Despite its importance, the task of writing a budget may seem extremely daunting. That is why we at Your Agora broke down the complicated school budgeting process to a digestible guide. The information based on findings by GOFA, The Rennie Center, Harvard Business Review, and other reputable sources for finance in education, shows school budget practices that prioritize student achievement within available resources.
By the end of this guide, you will be able to understand the planning, preparation and evaluation processes of school budgeting. The Department of Education released a staggering report on school budgeting. For example, Even worse, bymainstream schools in the US would need to earn over 3 billion dollars in surplus! The students are already suffering. The numbers will only keep increasing as the cost pressures rise and schools fail to manage them.
The only way for the school to persevere these challenges — the school leaders mastering the intricacies of school budgeting. TDLR: Schools all over the world struggle with proper budgeting on a terrifying scale. And the situation is projected to get worse.
To avoid joining the staggering statistics, follow this school budgeting 5-step process, backed by hundreds of theorists, researchers, statisticians, and financial experts. When preparing the new budget, the main objectives of a school budget should be at the crux of your planning process.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed by various expenditure factors, remember the three clauses of school budgeting:. With the main objectives in mind, you are ready to begin the budgeting process.
Continue reading to learn what data you need to create the optimal school budget.
A beginner's guide to planning and managing school budgets
The analysis of previous budgets may include the following data:. The plan and preparation step is there for you to make all necessary initial adjustments.
Your budget will constantly evolve through the evaluation process, but knowing how to find accurate numbers for the initial budget will be a valuable skill set for the health of your future financial planning ventures.
First, write a list of your goals and break them down into measurable units. Second, analyze your goals and hypothesize the spending priorities for the school. Remember, each spending priority must satisfy a specific goal or a requirement.Online casinos are like virtual vaults full of cash that are waiting to be unlocked. Through a combination of skillful play and careful selection it's possible to unpick these locks and take your bankroll to the next level.
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