As we all know, budgeting for a school district is not quite the same as budgeting for a traditional business. You can't exactly go out and sell more of whatever thing to fill the gaps in your budget, and your funding affects more than your bottom line - it affects the kids in your district.
But, even with the major differences between education and business, I do think we can learn a thing or two as we create our budgets for the upcoming school year. These top 10 budgeting tips from Forbes Magazine can be helpful when sitting down to plan.
1. Understand What a Budget Really Is
2. Know Your Organization
3. Build the Right Budgeting Team
4. Be Realistic
5. Be Conservative
6. Be Flexible
7. Be Detailed
8. Be Aware of Financial Relationships
9. Utilize the Right Tools
10. Share It
While some of these may seem obvious and straightforward, others may provide additional insight into your planning process. For instance, it may seem clear that you should know what a budget is but it may not be commonly known what type of budget your organization is working toward. Are you tracking every penny spent or more interested in creating a guideline? Are you working from the concept of expected money over the course of the school year, or are you focusing on budgeting based on existing cash flow?
Another key point is to consider bringing in different staff members to review at different points in the process. While administrators are typically going to have the final say, it could be enlightening to bring in some lead teachers or instructional coaches for a fresh point of view as you move forward.
And interestingly enough, using your budget to incentivize district personnel sounds like one of those 'that's for the business world' type pieces of advice - but is it? What if there was a way to use budget-to-actual spending by department to help make next year's budget more accurate? Wouldn't that accuracy help you run a strong district organization?
It's helpful to take a step back from what can often feel like a yearly chore and use that break to let yourself get creative. Maybe there's something revolutionary you'll discover in the process of breaking it down and following these tips.
Interested in reading the full article? Click here for the original post by Larry Light at www.forbes.com.
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