Budgeting and Forecasting

Award for Best Practices in School Budgeting

GFOA is a leader in developing, communicating, and encouraging best practice implementation in budgeting and financial planning. GFOA's most recent project is to enhance the existing Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for school districts and community colleges. Through this project and with the help of some of the best minds in the field, GFOA developed the Best Practices in School Budgeting for resource alignment to student outcomes, as well as criteria by which districts and colleges can demonstrate budget process excellence. 

GFOA continues to observe the outputs in practice through a number of pilot projects in order to test the best practices and award criteria, including supporting an early adopter group - the Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting - for school districts. 

As part of this project, GFOA has developed award criteria that will allow school districts to demonstrate process excellence and receive the recognition they deserve. Submission to the new award program will be available for budgets with fiscal years beginning in calendar year 2017.

Submitting an Application


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How to Submit for the School Budgeting Award Program

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Application Form

Download Application

We recognize that COVID-19 is disrupting normal government operations and may affect members’ ability to submit timely applications for GFOA’s award programs. We will approve extensions of the submission deadlines for those that need more time. Please submit the extension request form so we can record your extension in our system.


Request Extension

Submit Extenstion Request

Review Process

Applications will be reviewed by a GFOA staff member and 2 other judges (the “Judges”). The Judges will be drawn from one of the following four categories:

  • Employees of a school district that have background and responsibilities relevant to school district budgeting and/or management of academics.
  • Private consultants who work with school districts on matters relevant to school district budgeting.
  • Academics who study school budgeting and finance.
  • Retirees from one of the preceding categories.

Applicant Interview. The Judge(s) will schedule a time with the Applicant to review any questions the Judges may have about the Applicant’s Award Application. The Applicant Interview will take place over the phone and will typically last about an hour. The Judges will provide the Applicant with a list of general questions they plan to ask ahead of the call, although the Judges also may ask other questions as well. Judges may adjust their scores based on clarifications received during the Applicant Interview.

Award Criteria

Applicant and Judges Guide


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