Funding & Sustainability

School leaders create a sustainable budget, identify a range of funding sources, and seek savings and reallocation opportunities that align directly to student goals.

Strategies For Success

Source

Source sustainable funding streams to support your vision.

Stretch

Stretch funds by maximizing efficiencies and minimizing waste.

Prioritize

Prioritize expenditures that align with your vision and impact student achievement.

Source

Reflection questions

  • Does the community know how spending supports the transformation plan, what the impact has been, and what they can expect in future?
  • Have you communicated the fact that the transformation and all supporting capabilities (e.g. technology and PD) are a priority and are providing value?
  • Is the funding model for your transformation program scalable and sustainable over time?
  • Do you have solutions to manage funding shortfalls— fundraisers, grants, and partnerships with businesses?
  • Have you completed an initial budget to ensure you have enough funding to support your transformation under all scenarios (best, likely, and worst case)?

Stretch

Reflection questions

  • Have will technology make your schools more efficient (e.g. saving time or money)? Have you highlighted this for the community?
  • Are all staff incentivized to identify and surface ways to improve results, efficiency, and cost effectiveness?

Prioritize

Reflection questions

  • Have you dropped support for non-critical programs that do not support the wider vision?
  • Do you have a regular process for reviewing performance against the budget, and ensuring you are getting the right results (ROI) for what you are spending?

Funding & Sustainability

Create a sustainable funding plan

Whether you’re leading the budget team or just considering funding as part of your overall transformation, the steps and tools below can help you make a sustainable plan.


Funding & Sustainability overview

1

Assemble a Cross-Functional Team for Funding

Put together a budgeting team that includes representatives from finance, technology, and curriculum and instruction departments. Also consider including students, parents, and other community stakeholders. Having these stakeholders involved can help your district clarify its priorities and build consensus. You may also choose to have different subgroups, for example a working group and an advisory group.

  • reWork: Google’s research on effective teams
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  • Conduct a stakeholder analysis
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  • 2

    Investigate & Understand

    Members of your team should understand as much as they can before (and during) the budgeting process. To be effective they should take the following steps:

    (a) Investigate opportunities for cost savings that may result from the district's transformation.

    (b) Investigate a wide variety of supplemental funding streams to support your transformation in both the short and long term.

    (c) Evaluate your current expenditures and prioritize them based on how effectively they support the district's vision.

    (d) Talk with other districts about how they have sustainably funded major technology adoptions and other strategic initiatives.

  • Conduct a situation analysis
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  • 3

    Establish Funding Priorities

    Make sure that your district has a strong vision to guide your transformation; if you don't, go to the vision pillar and create one before continuing with the budget process. With a strong vision in place, use the vision as a guide to agree upon funding priorities within your cross-functional team. Embrace the fact that resources are constrained and you will not be able to fund every worthy project. Prioritize all programs, initiatives, and other expenses based on their “learning return on investment.”

  • Value of investment tool
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  • Using the district’s vision to prioritize expenditures
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    Ideas & Tactics

  • 4

    Identify actions and solutions

    You should now have a good understanding of your current funding situation and your ideal funding situation. In order to move between the two, you'll need to make decisions, take actions, and start new programs.

    Although you may have a pretty good idea about how to achieve your funding goals, consider taking some time to brainstorm to make sure you don't miss sources of funding or opportunities to save.

  • Project Red cost-saving tools
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  • Learn how to brainstorm effectively
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  • 5

    Make a Plan

    Now that you have measureable goals and have identified actions to meet those goals, organize this information into a funding plan for your transformation program. You will want to consider the following:

    - Look for cost-saving strategies to implement

    - Make sure that technology or other expenses are mapped to the appropriate funding streams

    - Make funding plans for both the short term and long term

    - Plan for financing transformation activities addressing professional development, culture, community engagement, curriculum and assessment, in addition to technology.

    - Consider using zero-based budgeting to allocate resources where they are most effective.

  • Tools for budgeting and resource management
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  • Using transformative zero-based budgeting
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    Ideas & Tactics

  • 6

    Launch & Iterate

    Your funding plan should be a living thing that you revisit often and use to guide key expenditures. Review it regularly and make adjustments as needed, but always connect any adjustments back to your transformation vision.

  • A guide to effective project implementation
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