Edle 665 Finance - School Budget Philosophy

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School Budget Philosophy

Test User

EDLE 665 Finance

July 11, 2005

Can it fit on a bumper sticker?

The process of developing an effective school budget is

guided by two fundamental truths; first, that schools exist

to educate students, and second, that the process by which

the budget is constructed and the results of said process

must be easily articulated by all stakeholders.

Just as the Constitution of the United States is the

supreme measure of lawful conduct in America, the mission,

goals, and objectives of a school district must direct all

activity, including the formation of the budget.

district’s mission, goals, and objectives are built to

define the programs, services, and activities it will

These programs, services, and activities are the

site-based units that, in turn, must prepare their own

goals and objectives.

performance targets, which are stated in terms of outcomes

Each unit objective should have

(Garner et al, 2004)

A skillful administrator will “align” the energy of his or

her stakeholders by creating a collective sense of purpose.

The input of students, teachers, parents, school committee

members, and active community members is tantamount to

achieving the goals of the school, for it is they who

teach, learn, and pay. They are the primary messengers and

are needed to spread the message that they had a part in

creating, and, that is consistent and simple. Though it may

be a lofty aspiration, any member of the community should

be able to tell you what the school’s priorities are, if

they can’t, the message is too complicated.

Fit it on a

Achieving alignment and creating a simple message is very

challenging and requires leadership that is selfless,

persistent, patient, and visionary.

Celtics (winner of eleven world championships in

thirteen years) demonstrate a phenomenon we have come to

call “alignment,” when a group of people function as a

Bill “Russell’s

In most teams, the energies of individual members

work at cross purposes.

of the relatively unaligned team is wasted energy.

Individuals may work extraordinarily hard, but their

The fundamental characteristic

efforts do not efficiently translate to team effort.

contrast, when a team becomes more aligned, a commonality

of direction emerges, as individuals’ energies harmonize.”

Within the high school, department heads present their line

item budget to the Principal in three forms:

last years figures (level funding), one containing a 2%

reduction in departmental funding, and one reflecting a 3

one based on

This process provides department leaders

with a reflective exercise, and one that provides a jumping

off point if cuts are needed.

Each department is responsible for creating a

modified “zero based” budget once every five years.

is, they begin with 70% of last year’s budget, and build it

All budget requests must be supported by the

bench marks set for their department.

Arguably the most difficult part of the budget cycle

happens following the implementation of these action steps.

The institution must support risk taking and missed goals,

and allow leaders to discuss what works and doesn’t work

This is easier said then done.

we will pay for intellectual dishonesty will result in

fewer opportunities for students.

stories of our hero’s who never gave up, who were rejected

and failed over and over again, struggling agaist adversity

beyond comprehension, but when it comes to our child, or

our class, or our school, some would rather spin than grow.

American’s love to tell

Alignment will, in my lifetime, result in an end to annual

America’s complex dichotomy of

competition and compassion, capitalism and philanthropy,

will resolve and succumb to it’s fundamental belief in

freedom and equal opportunity through the acquisition of

Can...
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