Smarter School Spending - 1: Plan and Prepare

The planning and budgeting process begins with mobilizing key  stakeholders, gathering information on academic performance and cost structure, and establishing  principles and policies to guide the budget process.  


  • Foster collaboration between the academic and finance staff in the budget process
  • Set expectations for the budget process and analyze the district's current state
  • Effectively communicate the process and corresponding decisions to stakeholders


A. Establish a partnership between the finance and instructional leaders.

A  collaborative process increases the likelihood that the decisions made will be  supported after the budget process is over.

B. Develop principles and policies to guide the budget process.

Budget principles  and policies formalize standards and fundamental values that should govern the  budgeting process.

C. Analyze current levels of student learning.

The current state of academic  performance must be assessed to determine what course of action to take.

D. Identify communications strategy.

The budget process should include a plan to  inform participants, stakeholders, and the general public about how the budget  process works, why each decision was made and how to provide input in the process.