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Understanding School Financial Management and Budgeting


The purpose of this assignment was to give you the opportunity to share your knowledge on material discussed over the past weeks and to challenge your understanding of concepts and terms associated with school financial management. More importantly, this assignment will serve as a long-term base of information a school leader should know when thinking about developing and managing a school’s budget.

As you work through this assignment, keep in mind the one key factor we have discussed over and over in this course. This one key factor is the link that should run throughout document and basically tie everything together. Also you should remember managing a school’s budget is more than sitting down and filling in items on a spread sheet; the process involves developing a structured plan and making that plan work for you.

As you respond to the following questions you should use your notes to assist with building your responses; however, at the same time I am expecting you will use basic leadership skills that have been shared and discussed in courses throughout the program. I feel strongly that managing a school’s budget involves a combination of number skills and leadership skills.

I am not expecting you to overwork yourself with this assignment, but I am looking for strong well-developed, intelligent responses that showcase your understanding of the material discussed in class. Make certain to use the rubric developed for this course to help guide your thinking on how to respond to the questions…you should use this assignment to show what you have learned over the past weeks.

1. One individual from the team should submit the entire completed document onto Camion (this includes, the cover page, and response to each of the questions).

2. Other team member(s) should upload the cover sheet onto Camion (Just the cover sheet, not the full document). 

1. In your understanding of school financial management what does financial management refer to, and why is school budgeting and financial management important concepts that should be understood by the school administrators when considering the development of a school budget?

2. What is the difference between school financial management and developing a school’s budget?

3. Due to the rise of technology, new legislation requirements and ongoing pleasures from the economy, the role of the school principle in relations to the school’s budget has changed significantly in the last few decades. What are some of the duties required of school principals today (list four of the major duties a school principals might be responsible for today).  

Instructions for Teams

4. With your awareness of the proportion of school revenue that comes from state, local and federal sources were you surprised with the percentages allocated from the various sources? If yes, why? If no, why not? What might explain why the state distributes what it does in per pupil expenditures?

5. Talk about Title 1 funding and tell why Title 1 funding is important when an administrator starts to consider his/her school budget? Specifically, what are Title 1 funds used for and what does it mean to be a Title I school. Title 1 funds be used for technology? If yes, why. If no, why not?   

6. In our lectures we talked about the fact that the development of the school’s budget allows the translation of intangibles like the mission, operations and objects into reality. What does this mean?

7. I shared with you nine major budget categories; however, they were given in no particular order. Please list the nine major categories in order of importance to you! Why do you believe these various categories are important to the budgeting process and explain why you believe the order you have choose makes sense when thinking about the development and preparation of a school’s budget. 

8. In your opinion does the State view K-12 education as a priority? If yes, why do you believe this? If no, why not? 

9. What is ADA funding and what are the advantages and disadvantages associated with the ADA funding process? 

10. What role does communication, relationship building and transparency play in maintaining the school’s budget? Which of the three, in your opinion, are the most valuable towards managing the school’s budget and why? 

11. What are some of the most significant costs a school administrator might face when thinking about school repairs. Why do you believe these cost are important how will/do they put a strain on the budgeting process. Finally, can the school administrator do to avoid the overwhelming cost associated with school repairs?

12. Why do parents at some schools raise money for elective classes and various educational programs?

13. What do you see as the greatest challenges facing school districts. More directly, how can school leaders better management their budgets while responding to these challenges, and the challenge of moving the learning process forward?

14. To what should designers of education a finance systems aspire to achieve: equity or adequacy? If you believes they should aspire to equity tell why and explain how this might look for our vulnerable population of students? If you are leaning towards adequacy, what does this look like and how might this change educational outcome for vulnerable students?

Questions to Respond

15. As school administrator it is your responsibility to organize professional development (PD) for your teachers so that they are prepared to engage student in the learning process. However, at the same time it’s equally important that school leaders manage the budget so that they have the necessary funds to make it through the year. What are six professional development trainings an administrator might develop that will cost close to nothing while still providing teachers with the needed tools to improve educational outcomes for students? As you think about this question, keep in mind that if you bring teachers in afterhours they must be paid and if you bring in substitute teacher, they will need to be paid?  

16. As a school leader it’s important to establish systems and structures that improve educational outcomes for all students. Do you believe systems and structures are important tools for establishing and maintaining the school’s budget? If yes, why are they important and how can having systems and structures in place save money, ensure parent and stakeholder engagement and help student take ownership of their learning? As a school leader what are some specific systems and structure you might enforce. Finally, how can systems and structures positively impact your most at-risk population of students?

17. Why is it that some schools receive different amounts of money from the district office? How can schools make certain they receive a considerably high amount of dollars each year?

18. What role does free and reduced lunch play in the school’s budget and why has free and reduced lunch come to be an important topic when discussing school funding?

19. If a school’s revenue is based on attendance, what does this mean for the school administrator, the budget, stakeholders and parents?

20. What is the different between Base-Site Budgeting, Program Base Budgeting, Line-item Budgeting, Zero-Based Budgeting and Performance-Based Budgeting. If you were a school administrator, which of the four would you choose and why. Why do you believe you have made the correct decision for managing a school’s budget?? 

21. What is the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), and what does it mean for local School Districts? From what we discussed in class, do all school districts receive the same amount of funding through the LCFF? If yes, why is this. In no, tell why not?

22. With LCFF how much flexibility do school administrators actually have to spend the funds they receive from District office?

23. What is a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) how does it differ from LCFF?

24. LCFF establishes eight priority areas for school districts that serve as the foundation for how the state defines success and measures the progress of students and schools. These priority areas are intended to guide local planning and funding decisions. What are these eight category items?

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