Monthly Archives: March 2015

School Districts Revamp Spending Habits

In a recent article released by Education Week, there is a new push for districts to drop the year-to-year budget cycles and follow a budgeting process that requires long-term planning guided by efforts to improve student achievement. What started out as a six district pilot program has now expanded to over twenty districts implementing the principles instituted by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).

“Probably the vast majority of districts don’t have that kind of regular dialogue that’s really needed in order to budget properly, [and] also budget effectively, especially given that most districts across the country are operating under continued pressures in terms of their finances,” said Matt Bubness, a manager at GFOA and a former operations director for the Chicago Public Schools.

GFOA’s best practices for budgeting emphasize planning and preparation as well as encourage community engagement. The creation of multi-year financial plans forces districts to rethink and realign.

Of course, the annual budgeting method is less controversial when year after year, districts do the same thing (along with a few tweaks) and their budget is accepted and approved because it worked before.

The multi-year budgeting approach requires districts to define their priorities and allocate funds accordingly. It allows districts to redirect funds from one area to another based on long-term goals and to allocate funds for successive budget years to support initiatives.

Susan Moxley, Lake County’s superintendent, called this way of doing business a “real paradigm shift.” The long-term planning has made it easier to deal with annual budget adjustments, she said. “It brought to light the importance of our resources and how precious they are and that they all need to be very strategically and deliberately focused on those outcomes,” Ms. Moxley said.

Every expense should be evaluated for its return on investment, considering not only initial cost and expenses during the life of the purchase, but also the savings that may have been realized from implementation. The benefit, is increased transparency and a consciousness about how money is spent and where dollars are allocated.

Can your district benefit from long-term budget planning? For more information visit the Smarter School Spending for Student Success website.




Smaller schools no longer burdened with the help of affordable online registration

One of the toughest challenges in education is managing a small school. Budget cuts instituted on a statewide level affect both large and small districts, however, smaller schools tend to feel the crunch more when operating on an already meager budget. But the burden of affordable online registration can be lifted!

Savvy schools know their future requires them to become more integrated with parents, teachers and students. The world we live in is becoming increasingly interconnected and small schools can’t afford to be left behind for the sake of our children, nor can they afford to pay large amounts of money to implement necessary improvements.

K-12 Online was developed to combat the problems of school wastefulness and the excessive time and energy required to register K-12 students year after year. K-12 Online’s solution helps schools overcome application, registration, enrollment, and lottery management hassles and streamlines the process to be more cost effective and eco-friendly.

Although our products work seamlessly for any size school or district, small schools choose K-12 Online over and over again for it’s ability to offer budget-friendly solutions while still providing high quality products and maintaining it’s high level of customer service.


Why is School Choice Gaining Popularity?

As parents look into more options for educating their children, one that continues to gain popularity is school choice – the freedom to choose where your child goes to school.

Most residence of a community pay tax dollars to help subsidize the cost of education in their district. School choice allows parents the ability to decide how their tax dollars are being applied and more importantly, how their child is being educated.

There are many school choice options: Private schools, charter schools, homeschooling, and online learning. Having the ability to choose a school levels the playing field for families, while encouraging healthy competition among schools to better service their needs.

Over the last few years, parents have been taking their child’s education into their own hands. Empowering parents with the ability to handpick a school of choice makes them feel as if their child is receiving the best possible education and one that is appropriate to their level of learning. Some public schools are highly accomplished and parents may feel it’s too competitive and will create a stressful environment for their child. While other parents place high academic standards on their children and feel that their home school is not stringent enough. Yet, for others the choice stems from how their child will assimilate or behave within a certain environment.

Whatever the reason a parent decides to follow the path of school choice, there is no denying that there is a growing threat to public schools. Many have experienced a decline in enrollment over the years and a few have even been forced to close their doors.

As doors close, opportunities are being opened for choice schools. We’ve seen charter schools gaining popularity and registration and wait list numbers increasing. There are pros and cons to any decision, however the more we can provide equality in education and give children the same opportunity to learn, the better off we are as a society in producing successful adults.

There are many types of school choice programs. Each state has its own set of regulations regarding school choice. Some states, such as California do not offer private school choice programs, but do allow online and charter school options, as well as intradistrict and interdistrict public school choice. Visit Freedman Foundation for Education Choice and find out more information about school choice options in your state.

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