What is the purpose of the school budget? It is for creating and implementing a financial plan that will support the necessary funding for all programs that benefit students. It is common knowledge that the school budget isn’t just about keeping the school running and afloat, but it has a deeper impact. The better the school budget planning, the more students experience high-quality learning.
But the truth is no matter how important the school budget is, planning and executing it is a daunting task.
5 budgeting tips that will simplify school budgeting for the school leaders.
1. Plan the budget keeping in mind the school improvement plan
When planning the school budget, don’t keep focusing on the past instead, think of all the new ways you can spend your budget and achieve your goals. The school budget reflects the school improvement plan.
This is why look over old budgets to understand over and under-spends, staffing requirements, and updated pay scales, and other resource requirements. Also, be aware of the exam results and pupil numbers to understand if any policy change is required and what curriculum needs to be invested in more.
2. Understand the school budgeting principles
There are various funding streams through which the school receives all its resources. They are:
- Delegated funding which has no strings attached
- Capital funding for improving long-term assets
- Devolved funding, which comes with terms and conditions for spending
- Revenue funding to be used in a year
Once you understand where the funding is coming from now all that is needed is to create a budgeting calendar and plan for all the upcoming scenarios.
3. Get the best value for money when collecting resources
Getting the best resources for the money you are investing in is important. So for school budgeters, it is extremely useful to see how much the neighbouring schools are spending on resources like building maintenance, catering, classroom assistants, etc.
Joining other schools is a great idea as it gives a much greater purchasing power. You could also be on the lookout for local organizations to buy in bulk and get the best value for the money you are investing.
4. Be confident when breaking down the school budget for school leaders
Breaking down the school budget to the leaders can seem like a tough job. This is why you need to have a clear understanding of it yourself and present the budget sheets in an easily understandable way. You should also be prepared for any cross-questioning.
Make business cases to help them understand how you spent a lot less than last year or some neighbouring school or partnered with another school to cut down on expenses. Keep highlighting how you got the best value for the money invested.
5. Help other educators understand the importance of financial accountability
A lot of teachers tend to think they don’t need to be careful with the school budget until and unless they are in a senior leadership role. But the truth is for that extra petty cash you might be the one that needs to invest.
To get the teachers to understand the importance of financial accountability, organize a Q&A session, and let them know in detail about the school finances. Be as transparent as possible and let the teachers know about how to handle the budget better with some real-life scenarios.
Creating that school budget while keeping in mind all the necessary responsibilities and updates is a labour-intensive task. But the school budget isn’t just some fiscal planning document, it is a tracking tool for all the tangible deliverable promises that the institution is offering.
Hopefully, this article will help you understand how to create the best school budget to achieve all the educational goals that the school envisions.