Bo Yan


Ten Key Concepts of Cycle-based Budgeting — Part I

Cycle-based Budgeting (CBB) is built on ten key concepts, which you will see throughout this web site and in the toolkit. You can use these ten terms to help explain to your colleagues what CBB is about, why it can be helpful, and how to do it.  Due to its length, this post is divided into two parts. In this part, the following five key concepts are presented: Budget as InvestmentInvestment ItemInvestment Item OwnerInvestment CycleExpected Return BUDGET AS INVESTMENT Differentiating certain budget items as investments sets the conceptual foundation for approaching those financial resources differently.  A school district’s budget is generally […]


How to Prioritize Programs for Funding Decisions?

This article was written in collaboration with Dr. Fiona Hollands, Associate Director and a Senior Researcher for the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. It appears in the September 2018 issue of School Business Affairs, published by the Association of School Business Officials International. Each year during the budget season, district and school leaders have the opportunity to make budgetary adjustments to make sure limited resources are used both effectively and efficiently to help achieve the organizational mission. Of the myriad types of budget adjustments, one leaders frequently face has to do with selecting a limited number of new […]


Track Investment Using MS Word and R

One key component of implementing Cycle-based Budgeting (CBB) is a technology system that allows the investments to be documented, tracked, and analyzed. Ideally, an online system that connects an institution’s financial data, outcome data, and its strategic plan should be used. Undoubtedly, it is a big and complex task to build, deploy and use such a system, which is probably why no vendor products are currently available in the market that serve the purpose. In JCPS, we developed an online system using the Microsoft SharePoint platform to implement CBB. This system has many nice features that render a good user […]


Empower Leaders to Make Strong Budget Decisions by Improving System Deficiencies

This article appears in the January 2018 issue of School Business Affairs, published by the Association of School Business Officials International. Please note that the article was originally written in September of 2017. Click on this link to download the published version.    As stewards of the taxpayer money, district leaders often take most, if not all, of the blame for not using those tax dollars effectively and efficiently to improve student outcomes. What the public does not always recognize and appreciate, however, is how difficult it is for district leaders to make informed budget decisions and how much they […]


Digital Promise Selected CBB Toolkit for Its Edtech Pilot Framework

The Edtech Pilot Framework provides a step-by-step process to help education leaders and technology developers run successful educational technology (edtech) pilots. CBB Toolkit is listed under both the Plan and Negotiate/Purchase steps. Also, I will be attending the upcoming AASA Annual National Conference on Education, February 15-17, 2018 in Nashville, TN. I have a round table session on Friday afternoon. Title: Cycle-based Budgeting & Continuous Improvement: Three Years of Lessons Time: 2/16 from 2:30 to 3:30 Venue: Table #6 in the NCE Marketplace at the Music City Center Convention Center Hope to see you there.


MS Word Version Investment Tracking Form Added to the Toolkit

Considering that SharePoint and InfoPath based Investment Tracking Form is not a viable solution in many districts, I added a new Investment Tracking Form developed in Microsoft Word to the CBB Toolkit. You can also download the form by clicking on this MS Word icon . This version includes three critical elements that are often missing in a typical Investment Tracking form: 1) cost per pupil, 2) measurable target outcomes, and 3) review cycle. Compared to the web-based solution (SharePoint and InfoPath), using the MS Word based form has many limitations. With that said, it does provide the following features: […]


A Decision Tool and Two Decision Rules

Acknowledgement: the author thanks Dr. Buchanan for his critiques that helped improve this post.   The CBB Decision Tool has been uploaded to the Toolkit. This tool is intended for two purposes: ⚑ Provide two simple but powerful data points for making program funding decisions ▸ Cost per pupil ▸ Total number of programs a cost center will be implementing concurrently ⚑ Play what-if scenarios to see the resulting implications for budget and program implementation CONTEXT Ideal School District adopted CBB in 15-16 school year. After two years of implementation, 9 CBB-accounted programs totaling $21.98 million will reach the end […]


Setting Funding Priorities: What Does It Mean and How to Get It Done

As the year of 2017 is winding down, many districts will soon be or have been engaged in budget discussions for the 18-19 school year. One phrase that people will hear and probably use a lot is “funding priorities”. In this article, I discuss several confusions around funding priorities and lay out a path to successfully setting funding priorities that lead to strong budget decisions. FUNDING PRIORITIES What they are At the core of funding priorities are areas on which investment should be focused, such as equity, arts and music, culture and climate, and so on. This core should to […]


CBB Year 2 Report

Cycle-based Budgeting Year 2 Report is added to the CBB Toolkit. This report documents the second year implementing Cycle-based Budgeting at Jefferson County Public Schools (Louisville, KY). In addition to aligning another $24.3 million new spending with the district’s strategic plan, $20.3 million of existing spending was rolled into the process. Next, the challenges faced by the district to review 105 end-of-cycle programs totaling $33 million next year based on academic return on investment (A-ROI) are discussed. The report also includes an illustration of how A-ROI is defined and calculated and discussion of assumptions and issues around the formulation.