Justification for School Budget Cuts
Public School Finance – Budget Cuts
School budgets have been affected greatly by budget cuts which have become a common and unpleasant task for most members of the school administration. The budget reductions have led to deficits in the organizations and have compromised the organizational growth greatly. The new wave of budget cuts that has been instituted by the school district involves a 30% reduction in the soft capital budget and 20% in the maintenance and operations budget. Nonetheless, the school needs to comply with this district budget cut and cut some items in the budget.
The concept of the budget cut is unified across all fields and professional sectors in the school in order to make sure that there is no noticeable difference which creates an impact on how the funds are allocated and prioritized. While the 30% cut for the soft capital budget would mean that the school will need to cut more than a quarter of its soft capital budget, prioritization will be the means of achieving the right balance between the different areas of the budgets that will be cut.
It is important to understand that the resources for the school budgets come from a combination of state, federal and local contributions. However, since the school budget involves various individuals and entities, the budget cuts must also involve all stakeholders at the local, state, district and national levels. These include the school administrators, employees, members of the community and the school board, the governor, state legislators, federal education department and the members of the congress.
Therefore, in light of the immediate budget cuts from the school district, the stakeholders will be requested to give areas which they feel should be cut. This will be done in order to approach the budget cutting with absolute care and so as not to harm, in any way, the capacity of the organization to achieve its purpose. This will also help to reduce the budget without compromising in any way of the mission and vision of the organization Maddox, 1999()
The plan will be implemented by finding the areas of the budget with the least demand in order to reduce the spending on these avenues. For all aspects of the budget, the demand for providing services for the students is high and these should be kept as high priority items and should be spared from the budget cuts. Those aspects of the school which have failed to respond positively to the financial discipline of the organization and those which do not give significant value will be given least priority and will be targeted by the budget cuts Ellerson, 2012()
The extent of the cuts needs to be determined for each item where the cut is proposed. This will be modeled around providing a relatively informal dealing. The various departmental heads will be required to review their budgetary allocations alongside their actual expenditure in order to find any surpluses and these will be the first area of budget cuts. This informal financial modeling will be advised to take into account the effects of timing the budget cuts.
Across the board cuts will be administered in order to set a particular percentage for all departmental heads to develop proposals for budget cuts in order to set cuts in their budget. It will also give them a flexibility to decide which areas of their departmental budgets will be cut. The areas that they choose will be those that do the least harm to the overall operations and well-being of the department. Since the departmental heads are responsible for developing the budgets for their departments, they are the most appropriate people to design the budget cuts for their department since they know their department in and out. The departmental heads will thus be able to evaluate and determine the degree of cut to the budget that their department can sustain and which will lead to least disruption of the programs and services offered by the department. If the departmental heads cannot accept higher levels of budgetary cuts, they may be able to renew their efforts in order to increase the revenue that responds to the financial needs of the department.
An important advantage of across-the-board cuts is that they are fair and indiscriminate. They do not make the departmental heads feel that the cut targets any particular department. Also, it helps each of the departments to shoulder a part of the cut in funding from the school district Ghosh, 1992()
In order to cut the budget, the school departmental leaders will need to have a clear understanding of the nature of the cause for the cut. It is expected that meetings will be scheduled with the stakeholders of the school district in order to understand why the district cut funding.
Among the things that the budget cuts protect the school from are budgetary deficits. Such deficits pose a more immediate threat to an organization. Deficits harm the organization’s ability for sustenance of high standards of learning for the students. The budgetary cuts will thus be important in ensuring that the gap between the stated goals of the district and resource allocation in the schools is bridged. This will help the school to establish objectives and priorities that are similar all over the districts thus the allocation of resources will not be altered which ensure that the standards of learning are maintained to be as high as possible. Also, as a result of the prioritization measures, the necessary budget line items that are essential to the learning environment will not be changed in any way. This is one of the major achievements of the across-the-board budgetary cut. These essential services that will not be touched include transportation, salaries, food services, curriculum development, health and safety, facilities, and energy Angelo, 1983()
Whilst the budgetary cuts remain majorly to impact the school’s management, it is important that the other stakeholders of the school such as the parents, staff, students and members of the community are aware of the cut. The communication will be made through a meeting with these stakeholders or their representatives in order to also capture their ideas and opinions while communicating this information to them. This meeting will then be recorded and copies of the meeting’s minutes supplied to all stakeholders in order for them to have a look and they will also be given a chance to channel their opinion on what needs to be cut from the budget.
While maintaining the understanding that the commitment of the administration towards rewarding and replicating programs that are successful, the budgetary cuts will be designed to maintain the core items by providing a more reliable stream of revenue for them. This strong emphasis on competition will bring the implication that the school will need to produce innovation and a high level of student achievement in order to become financially stable. This formula will keep the standards of learning in the school high and ensure that there is continued educability despite of these budget cuts.
Financial stability is important for all schools in the district despite the budget cuts. It is therefore crucial that the school find alternative sources of funding and to be able to plan appropriately for its future in light of the budgetary cuts. Such avenues of alternative funding could include applying for competitive grants and investing in various opportunities with lucrative returns.
With limited resources at the disposal of schools, the best thing would be to apply for competitive grants which will bring in thousands of dollars to finance the school budgets. During these trying economic times, the school will need to try to balance the high requirements of the schools with the necessity of the funding. Therefore, the school needs to focus its activities to align themselves with the requirements for winning competitive grants which may replace the funding that has been cut in the school district. Though it is extremely difficult to be innovative and to reform, the school needs to strive hard to do this in order to translate their activities into sources of funding.
Evaluation of the effectiveness of the budget cut is extremely important in order to know how the school has progressed despite the budgetary cuts. This evaluation will be determined by checking records of academic performance of the school against the past to make sure that the budget cuts have not had a significant impact on the performance of the students. This evaluation will also help to ensure there is continued educability and that the vision of the district to have high standards of learning is maintained.
There is also need to evaluate the time that is available for achieving the change required to win the grants. The school thus needs to avoid any financial considerations that will end up bringing budgetary deficits. This is to mean that even though the school needs to align its activities so as to win the grant competitions. The school needs to develop a strategy that enables that the school to win the competitive grants will not run them into a risk of budgetary deficits. This is done by making sure the school takes calculated steps in applying for the competitive grants so as not to change their system in a way which brings about the deficits.
Angelo, D.S. (1983). Florida Bites No Bullets on Federal Aid Cuts. Publius, 12, 127-137.
Ellerson, N. (2012). School Budgets 101: American Association of School Administrators.
Ghosh, A. (1992). 1992-93 Budget and Economic Policies. Economic and Political Weekly, 27(15/16), 829-838.
Maddox, D. (1999). Strategic budget cutting. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
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