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The Principal's Guide to School Budgeting

The Principal's Guide to School Budgeting

Second Edition

272 pages | Corwin
Learn how to create a winning school budget during challenging economic times.

Effective administrative practices, both fiscal and academic, are continually being redefined at all levels. Developing budgets that keep up with economic changes and instructional expectations is a challenge.

This best-seller steps leaders through the budgeting process, with vision and planning as firm guides to resource allocation. Emphasizing tough budgetary climates, the book includes a budget model that shows how to align organizational goals with a sound fiscal accountability system.

This new edition features

" 25 tips for budgeting during an economic downturn

" Analysis of real school action and budget plans

" Methods for conducting a needs and program assessment

" Answers to some of the toughest budgeting dilemmas

" Case study applications and problems

" Budgeting checklist for administrators

" Selected templates, forms and resources

" Discussion questions and experiential activities

Showcasing real school scenarios and national standards, leaders learn to plan a budget, monitor funds, evaluate budget reports, and prepare school action plans that keep students achieving in fiscally difficult times.

About the Authors
1. Understanding the Budgeting Process
The Basics of School Budgeting

Breaking the Budgeting Myths

Delineating Between School Finance and School Budgeting

Budgeting in Times of Economic Downturn and Fiscal Constraint

Allocation – The Key to the Budgetary Process

Sources of School Funding

Federal Sources of Income

State Sources of Income

Local Sources of Income

Ten Steps to Budgeting Success

Final Thoughts

Discussion Questions

Case Study Application: Fiscal Issues and the New Principal

Application Questions

Application Questions

Part II: "Well, It's My Money!"

2. The Budget-Vision Relationship and the National Standards
The National ISLLC Standards

Shifts in Knowledge and Skills

From Technical Skills to Interpersonal Skills

From Director to Consensus Builder and Motivator

From Resource Allocation to Accountability

Examining the ISLLC Standards Through A Budget-Vision Lens

ISLLC Standard 1 – The Vision Standard

ISLLC Standard 2 – The Learning Standard

ISLLC Standard 3 – The Environment Standard

ISLLC Standard 4 – The Community Standard

ISLLC Standard 5 – The Ethics Standard

Examining Three Key Terms – The Trio

ISLLC Standard 6 – The Global Standard

Final Thoughts

Discussion Questions

Case Study Application: Belle Plain Middle School

Application Questions

3. Culture, Data, and Celebrating Success





Data-Driven Decision Making

Barriers to the Use of Data

Dimensions of Data

Data Types

Disaggregated Data

Longitudinal Data

Perception Data

Qualitative Data

Quantitative Data


Acknowledging Opportunities for Growth and Development

Celebrating Success

Final Thoughts

Discussion Questions

Case Study Application: L. B. Jensen Middle School

Application Questions

4. A Model for Integrating Vision, Planning, and Budgeting
Sorenson-Goldsmith Integrated Budget Model


Component 1: Defining Stakeholders

Component 2: Stakeholder Selection

Committee Size and Structure


Committee Member Training

Staggering the Terms

Component 3: Data Gathering (Needs Assessment)

Component 4: Data Analysis

Component 5: Needs Prioritization

Component 6: Goal Setting

Component 7: Performance Objectives

Component 8: Action Plan

A Planning Metaphor

The Elements of an Action Plan

The GOSA Relationship

An Example

GOSA Mapping

Final Thoughts


Discussion Questions

Case Study Application: Shifting Paradigms With Changing Times

5. Effective and Efficient Budgeting Practices
The Budget Plan

Adequate Funding in an Era of Accountability and Fiscal Constraint

Analyzing the School Action and Budget Plans

Performing an Information Analysis

Steps to Performing an Information Analysis

Conducting a Needs Assessment

Generated Income Sources



Expenditure Accountability and Control

Fiscal Education and Information Management System

Accounting Procedures

Collection and Deposit Structures

The School Activity Account

Components of the Collection and Deposit Structure

Timely Payment of Bills

Budget Amendments

Budgetary Systems

Function/Object Budgeting

Zero-Based Budgeting

School-Based Budgeting

Accounting and Auditing Procedures

Fraudulent Practices


Other Risk Factors

The Leadership Role: Ethical and Moral Behaviors

Final Thoughts

Discussion Questions

Case Study Application: Sex, Money, and a Tangled Web Woven

Application Questions

6. Building the School Budget
Site-Based Decision Making

Why Site-Based Decision Making?

Who Builds the School Budget?

The School Leader

School-Site Administrators

Other Committee Members

School-Site Directors

Teachers and Grade-Level or Department Chairs

Central Office Administrators


Community Members

School Budget Applications

Budget Allocations

Restricted Funds

Coding Applications

Activity 1: Utilizing Accounting Codes

Activity 2: Utilizing Accounting Codes

Projecting Student Enrollment

Important Budget Considerations

The Budget Calendar

The Budget Hearing and Defense

Final Thoughts

Discussion Questions

Case Study Application 1: Shifting Paradigms With Changing Times

Case Study Application 2: Requisition Season at Cover Elementary

Application Question

Case Study Application 3: The Budget Development Project

Chapter 6 Answers

Resource A. Selected Forms
Budget Development Spreadsheet

Strategy Page

Resource B. Experiential Exercises
Gladys Weatherspoon Case Study

The Budgeting Codes Activity

Accounting Codes Reference Sheet

Resource C. Budgeting Checklist for School Administrators
Resource D. State Departments of Education Websites

"Budgeting is the one area where future and/or new principals feel most insecure! Time and time again we hear our students say they feel like they don't know enough about handling the finances of their school. My students found The Principal's Guide to School Budgeting to be a very clear and practical resource that had information and instructive exercises to ease their anxiety about the task and help them with their jobs."

Genie Bingham Linn, Associate Professor
Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Texas at Tyler

"I wish I had had this book before I became a principal for the first time! Yes, we do want to manage funds wisely. But this book goes farther; it teaches new school leaders how to think creatively and it helps them utilize resources to bring about greater equity of learning for all students. They also clearly explain how to create inclusiveness so that all stakeholders become supporters of the school's plan for improvement."

Dr. Michael Fanning, Coordinator, M.S. in Educational Leadership
California State University, East Bay

I will not teach this course this year. This text will be forwarded to the new instructor of record.

Professor James Gentilucci
Education Dept, Cal Polytechnic State Univ
October 2, 2016

Excellent Book

Dr Thomas Hall
School Of Education, North Dakota State University
March 26, 2015

I struggle to find the "right" book for students preparing to be Principals. They need something really practical and this fill the bill!

Dr Jeanne Surface
Educational Admin Superv Dept, University of Nebraska at Omaha
April 19, 2013

Richard Dwane Sorenson

Learn more about Richard Sorenson's PD offeringsRichard D. Sorenson, Professor Emeritus, is the former department chairperson of the Educational Leadership and Foundations Department at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He also served as the director of the Principal Preparation Program. He earned his doctorate from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi in educational leadership. Dr. Sorenson served public schools for 25 years as a social studies teacher, principal, and associate superintendent for human resources. Dr. Sorenson continues to work with graduate students at UTEP teaching school-based budgeting and school... More About Author

Lloyd Milton Goldsmith

Learn more about Lloyd Goldsmith's PD offeringsLloyd Milton Goldsmith is the director of the Principal Preparation Program and former chairperson for the Graduate Studies in Education Department at Abilene Christian University. He earned his EdD from Baylor University in the area of educational leadership. Dr. Goldsmith served public schools for 29 years as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal at a junior high school, and an elementary school principal. Dr. Goldsmith led the migration of the graduate education program to an online format. He is currently involved in developing an online EdD in educational leadership. Dr.... More About Author