*Spring Edition* A Seasonal Guide: How Are Schools Budgets Made?

See how districts work with their departments, staff, and communities to finalize budgets for board approvals.

Spring is here and so is the spring installment to our seasonal guide to school budgets. Catch the fall edition here, or the winter breakdown here.

At this point in the process, everyone in the district who personally manages a budget, including principals, will have received their allocation for the following year. Now it’s time to create a detailed plan for staffing and discretionary spending to make sure that every dollar is spent to best support students. This is the season when principals may meet with their staff and community to discuss budgetary priorities for the upcoming year. If improving literacy rates by 3rd grade is a big goal, for example, principals may focus on freeing up resources for new literacy interventions. If the school wants to expand recess time or after-school programming, they may have to shuffle resources around to meet new needs.

Resources include people, money, and time. Since people make up the majority of the budget, schools can often free-up resources for new programs or class offerings by making creative and strategic scheduling changes. Our partners at Abl Schools are working with schools to create master schedules that will accommodate the evolving needs of school operations. Volunteers, local grants, community partners, and other fundraisers may help fill the resource gaps when there isn’t room in the budget. The more schools lead these conversations openly with parents and communities, the more creative solutions you will from them. Hopefully, parents will also come to appreciate the challenge of school budgeting.

As school budgets are solidified with their local communities, the district will share the entire budget and submit it to the board for approval.

Getting your board, community, and schools on the same page about your budget is an ongoing challenge for many administrators. Ask us how our expert visualizations and customized school profiles can help you understand and share budgeting and spending patterns at the school level in comparison to district averages. Give us a shout at hello@allovue.com.


About the Author

Image of Jess Gartner Jess Gartner is the founder and CEO of Allovue, where edtech meets fintech - #edfintech! Allovue was founded by educators, for educators. We combine powerful financial technology with education data, giving administrators the power to connect spending to student achievement. Jess has been featured as one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in Education (2015, 2016 All-Star), The Baltimore Sun’s Women to Watch (2013), and Baltimore Magazine’s 40 Under 40 (2013). In 2014, she was recognized as the Maryland Smart CEO Innovator of the Year in the Emerging Business category. Before founding Allovue, Jess studied education policy at the University of Pennsylvania and taught in schools around the world, including Thailand, South Africa, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. As a Teach for America corps member, she taught middle school humanities in Baltimore City and received her M.A. in teaching from Johns Hopkins University.