Structure of the Strategic Budget
Schools must post their strategic budgets on their school websites as part of the Plan of Operation.
Below, each section of the strategic budget is explained. This example is designed to help you understand the parts of the strategic budget, but keep in mind that each school’s budget will look different.
Section 1: Student Enrollment
Section 1 of the strategic budget contains the student enrollment numbers at your school.
In the spring prior to the next school year, this section will include projected enrollment numbers. In the fall, it will show actual enrollment numbers.
Section 2: Staffing Allocations
Section 2 of the strategic budget shows your school’s staffing allocations, broken down by administrative, licensed, and support staff. The allocations in section 2 are based on student enrollment numbers and the type of school.
For example, middle and high schools may have allocations for Dean positions, whereas this position does not exist at elementary schools. A set of formulas based on information about the size and type of school is used to determine the allocations for each school.
Section 3: Allocated Funds
Section 3 of the strategic budget shows the funds allocated to the school’s strategic budget. Some, but not all, of the funds from other “buckets” of funding may appear here, too.
For example, in this sample strategic budget, you can see that in addition to the general funds, this school also receives Hope Squared and SB 178 funds, which are included in this section. However, this school also receives funding from other sources that are not shown in this section, such as Title 1 and special education funding.
Section 4: Strategic BUdget Plan
Section 4 shows the strategic budget plan that will be developed for your school by the principal, with assistance and advice from the School Organizational Team.
The previous three sections provide the base allocations and funding information for the strategic budgeting process, and this section is where each school’s unique needs are considered in determining how to distribute resources.
Subsection 4.1.1 is a plan summary that shows the breakdown of how funds are allocated for staff, additional personnel costs, and supplies and services.
The subsections after this go into more detail on each line item that you see in the plan summary.
Subsections 4.1.2 through 4.1.4 are a breakdown of the line items for administrative, licensed, and support staff. This is where you’ll see the actual positions planned for your school.
The planned positions may differ from the allocated number of positions based on a number of factors specific to each school. For example, looking at this sample budget, you can see that this school was allotted 3 assistant principal positions based on the allocation formula but has chosen to fund 5 assistant principal positions, due to a need based on specific school-based initiatives. This is what the strategic budget process is all about – the flexibility and autonomy for schools to make those types of decisions.
Looking at the licensed staff positions in this plan, you will notice that there are some positions listed as costing $0.00. This might seem confusing on the surface, but there is actually a simple explanation. Many principals choose to still show positions funded by other sources in their strategic budgets so that they have one central place where all of their school’s positions are recorded.
Principals can list positions funded by other sources in their strategic budgets by entering them as a “no-cost” line item. When you see “0.00” in the “Costs” column next to an item, that means that this position was funded from a source not included in the strategic workbook, such as Title I or special education funding. This does not mean that position did not cost anything; it is still being paid for, just from a different funding source.
Subsection 4.1.5 shows the funds budgeted for various supplies and services for your school.
Subsection 4.1.6 shows additional personnel costs. This section might include things such as funds budgeted to pay staff for professional development or to pay teachers for working during their prep periods.
If your school does have additional funding sources listed in their strategic budget, such as this how this school had Hope Squared funding and SB 178 funding listed, you will see the same categories we just looked at for those sources as well. Remember that these funds all have different uses and restrictions.