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Level Up Your School Planning & Budgeting Processes

Level Up Your School Planning & Budgeting Process

Since school districts have an enormous responsibility to optimize every tax dollar available, efficient and transparent planning and budgeting are crucial.

We’re going to ask you to take a hard look at your current processes. If you’ve ever thought, “There has to be a better way!” then you might be ready to modernize, streamline, and maximize your productivity with innovative cloud-based solutions.

Get ready to LEVEL UP your planning and budgeting processes and enjoy improved collaboration, accuracy, and communication with your parents and community.

Planning Phase: Enhancing Strategic Planning

Ask Yourself:

  • Does your school district currently have a long-term strategic plan?
  • How is your plan created and executed?
  • What does your plan look like (PDF, spreadsheets, etc)?
  • Are all stakeholders aware of their goals and what tasks they need to complete?
  • Do you share your strategic plan with parents and the community?
  • How do you measure and track performance — do you share plan progress with your community?
  • Do you regularly meet your goals and are on track to achieve the long-term vision set for your schools?
  • What happens if you don’t meet your goals — what’s the process for updating your plan and communicating with stakeholders?

LEVEL UP With ClearPlans

During the planning phase, schools can use a cloud-based strategic planning solution like ClearPlans for a more modern approach. The platform facilitates centralized collaboration, simplifies plan creation, assigns tasks, tracks progress, and allows for easy plan updates. With ClearPlans, schools can share their strategic plan with parents and the community, fostering engagement and transparency. Additionally, performance measurement and tracking tools within the software help monitor progress and ensure goals are being met.

Collection Phase: Streamlining Budget Requests

Ask Yourself:

  • How do your schools/departments currently submit budget, capital, and personnel requests?
  • Do you struggle with long email threads, back-and-forth calls, and many meetings to get all the information needed for requests?
  • Are schools/departments aware of the request process, deadlines, and expectations?
  • Is supporting documentation for each request in one central location? Or do reviewers have to view information in multiple places and formats?
  • How do you score and prioritize requests?
  • Do you have to field a lot of questions and concerns about fund allocation and project prioritization?

LEVEL UP With Operational Budgeting, Capital Budgeting, and Personnel Budgeting

To streamline the collection of budget, capital, and personnel requests, school districts can adopt a cloud-based budgeting solution. Operational Budgeting, Capital Budgeting, and Personnel Budgeting offer easy-to-use digital request forms that allow schools and departments to attach supporting documentation. The intuitive dashboard provides an overview of all requests, while custom criteria help score and prioritize them automatically, simplifying the decision-making process and making it easier to communicate budget decisions to the community.

Creation Phase: Automating Budgeting Processes

Ask Yourself:

  • How do you currently create your budgets (Excel, Word, email, PDF, etc)?
  • Do you do a lot of manual data entry and consolidation of data?
  • How much time do you spend on your school’s annual budget?
  • As changes are made, how much additional time do you spend on reconciliation for fear of errors?
  • How do you communicate with schools/departments on approvals, denials, or requests for additional information?
  • For personnel budgeting, how do you handle union negotiations and scenario planning?
  • For capital budgeting, how do you handle multi-year, multi-scenario plans to meet critical district needs over the course of several years?

LEVEL UP With Operational Budgeting, Capital Budgeting, and Personnel Budgeting

Cloud-based budgeting solutions can transform the creation phase by eliminating the reliance on cumbersome spreadsheets and manual work. With Operational Budgeting, Capital Budgeting, and Personnel Budgeting, school committees can collaborate seamlessly with schools and departments, eliminating time-consuming email chains and meetings. The platforms automate data updates, provide an audit trail of changes, and offer integrated solutions where all budgets (operating, personnel, and capital) reside in one place. Furthermore, they allow you to create unlimited multi-year, multi-scenario plans for capital projects and real-time personnel scenario planning.

Communication Phase: Engaging Parents and the Community

Ask Yourself:

  • How do you communicate your strategic plan and budget with parents and the community?
  • What does your budget book look like (digital PDF or printed)?
  • How much time do you spend creating the budget book?
  • Where does your budget book live, and do parents and the community know how to access it?
  • How do you share your budget book with parents and the community (website, email, social media, etc)
  • Do you have to field a lot of questions due to lack of understanding or just too much information to digest?
  • Do parents and the community find your budget data easy to understand?

LEVEL UP With Digital Budget Book and Transparency

Clearly communicating the strategic plan and budget to the community is vital. By using Digital Budget Book and Transparency to create a website-based budget book and transparency portal, schools can ensure easy access to budget information for parents and the community. Digital budget books are engaging, visually appealing, and simplify complex data with graphs and charts, making it easier for everyone to understand. Additionally, schools can provide context to help citizens understand budget decisions and demonstrate how budget items align with the strategic plan.

Digital Budget Book and Transparency integrate with Operational Budgeting, Personnel Budgeting, and Capital Budgeting to automatically pull data from these budgets and eliminate manual data entry. The budget book can be printed to a PDF or shared via a link through various channels, including your school district website, transparency portal, email, or social media. A transparency portal allows you to share high-level budget data, demographics about students and teachers, test scores, and updates on capital projects — giving parents and the community a single, easy-to-access source for information about your school district.

With cloud-based solutions, schools can elevate their planning and budgeting processes, leading to increased efficiency, accuracy, and transparency with parents and the community. Leveraging these tools empowers schools to make data-driven decisions, allocate resources fairly, and ultimately provide the highest quality education for students.

Schedule a demo today to see how ClearGov can help you make a difference.

June 28, 2023

Matt Benati

Matt Benati is Vice President of Marketing for ClearGov®, the leading provider of Budget Cycle Management software for local governments. Matt is passionate about helping organizations modernize their annual budgeting process by automating workflow, increasing collaboration, and improving transparency between governments and citizens.