Step 3: Pay for Priorities

Current resources and expenditures must be thoroughly analyzed in order to find capacity to pay for top instructional priorities.

Best Practices in School Budgeting

A. Apply cost analysis to the budget process. A cost analysis and staffing analysis are essential to identifying how the district might allocate its limited resources.
B. Evaluate & prioritize use of resources to enact the instructional priorities. Instructional priorities need to be thoroughly quantified as a first step to determining how much money is needed to implement the priorities and where that money will come from. Trade-offs need to be weighed to examine whether the costs, financial or otherwise, of implementing an instructional priority are viable.

GFOA Best Practices

  • Effective Budgeting of Salary and Wages. GFOA encourages every government to consider forecasting procedures that would result in more accurate expenditure projections, especially as they relate to personnel.
  • Strategies for Managing Health-Care Costs. Governments need to closely monitor health-care costs and choose approaches that make use of the jurisdiction’s purchasing power, share costs appropriately, encourage good consumer behavior, promote health, and support governmental jurisdictions’ ability to hire and retain a highly qualified and motivated workforce.


Topic Example Documents   District Examples
  • Cost Analysis
  • Evaluating & Prioritizing Expenditures


Other Resources

Center for American Progress - Return on Educational Investment Report 2014