Blog


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 Budget Request Form Added to the Toolkit

Considering that SharePoint and InfoPath based Budget Request Form is not a viable solution in many districts, I added a new Budget Request 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 budget request form: 1) unit cost, 2) measurable target outcomes, and 3) review cycle. Compared to the web-based solution (SharePoint and InfoPath), using the MS Word based Budget Request Form has many limitations. With that said, it does provide the following […]


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.


Cycle-based Budgeting – A Primer 1

How much money has been spent on literacy, student behaviors, etc. respectively by the district over the past five years and what is the return on each of those investments? How do we help leaders take actions so that money will no longer be wasted on ineffective programs year after year, but reinvested to meet the district’s needs instead? An district’s budget should mirror its strategic vision and goals by funding programs that most support these priorities and meet the greatest needs. Accordingly, an effective budgeting process should be engaged with both allocation of new spending and reallocation of existing spending to meet those goals. Generally, […]