Did you know the first law about public school funding was passed in 1647? That year, the Massachusetts Bay Colony placed a tax on local buildings to pay for its schools.
Almost 400 years later, school budgets have become much more complicated to manage. While the federal government contributes some funds to education, 93% of schools receive their funding from state and local sources.
If you’re responsible for organizing your school budget, where do you start? How can you ensure you spend your available funds in the best way possible?
In this post, we’ll outline three things to keep in mind about school budget planning. Read on to learn more.
1. Focus on Your School Improvement Plan
It’s easy to look at last year’s budget and follow the same pattern as you have in the past.
There’s nothing wrong with taking previous budget plans into consideration. But don’t feel pressured to do everything exactly the same each year. Students’ needs change, as do the needs of the faculty and physical structure of your school.
Start by thinking about what you would do if you had an unlimited school budget. What updates would you make? What programs would you add or revamp?
Even though you don’t have a bottomless bank account, this visualization can help you put things into proper perspective. You may even stumble across great improvement ideas you hadn’t thought of yet.
As an example, if you find you need new equipment, you could lease what you need from a company like Maxxia.
2. Analyze & Collaborate
When you sit down to analyze your school budget, start with the success (or failure) or past budgets.
In what areas did the school overspend? Underspend? Which departments had just enough to cover their needs?
Next, consider how many students are enrolled in the coming year. Is it more or less than last year? Do you have enough staff to handle the number of incoming students?
Another area to consider is exam results. Are there certain subject areas where students consistently underperform? Perhaps those parts of the school curriculum need more attention and resources.
Ask the head of each department for evidence of how their allocated funds are benefiting students. Then, as a team, you can better collaborate where and how to spend the budget.
3. Plan for Unplanned Expenses
No matter how carefully you prepare your school budget, something unexpected will happen.
Maybe one of the buildings on campus needs maintenance, or maybe one of your local sources underdelivers on promised funding. Whatever the case, it’s always wise to have a small emergency stash set aside–just in case.
Never skimp when it comes to the safety of your students and staff. Review unplanned expenditures on a case-by-case basis, and be willing to spend what’s necessary to keep everyone healthy and safe.
Final Thoughts on Managing Your School Budget
Managing school budgets is not for the faint of heart. It takes excellent analytical and decision-making skills to divvy up those precious funds.
Consult this school budget planner each year when it’s time to make important decisions. That way, you’ll be assured that your students have everything they need to succeed.
For more helpful advice, check out our other recent blog posts.