Ed Management Services

Budgeting Handbook


Public school districts face serious challenges due to the rising costs, variable enrollments and difficulty in obtaining adequate resources. To manage a district cost effectively and within legal constraints while meeting program objectives, one must plan, evaluate and control the activities of the district. A sound budgeting system is fundamental to efficient and effective management.

Budgetary accountability is required from all levels of government as well as the voter community. Society demands close monitoring and compliance in the spending of government funds. In addition, the public demands full disclosure and involvement in the spending of its tax dollars.

Because of the continued complexity and cost of operating a school district, careful use must be made of limited State, Federal and local resources in order to benefit the student. Good planning will assure that these funds are directed to those purposes for which they are made available. It requires time and study to adequately understand a good educational program and to express it in terms of its financial requirements. In order to effectively develop and administer the budget it is important to define what will be accomplished, how and when it will be accomplished, and the responsibility of each level of authority in meeting these objectives.

Good budgeting has been described as securing the greatest educational return from every local, State and Federal tax dollar.

This document has been prepared to assist school district administrators and boards of education in planning service and expenditure programs, and in developing and presenting annual budgets. It should be noted that the document is intended to provide general guidelines concerning budgetary practices rather than a detailed plan for budget development.

The Budgeting Handbook #3 was first published by the State Education Department in 1955, and since that time has been revised and reprinted several times. This latest revision is designed to address a number of significant changes that have occurred recently in the area of school finance and management including legislation which affects budget presentation and implementation.

Last Updated: June 26, 2009