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Why has the process used to adopt budgets changed so little over the years? While I like listening to songs from the ’60s and ’70s, I am not sure I want to go back in time. Why do governments continue to use a budget process that was used in the ’60s and ’70s? Maybe because that is what they have always done.

In January 2015, the Government Finance Officers Association released a report on “Best Practices in School District Budgeting.”

The new budget process places emphasis on adopting educational goals (outcomes), evaluating the current status of those goals, determining why the district is not meeting those goals and identifying processes to meet those goals.

The budget process takes a look at how dollars are currently being spent, not on a districtwide basis, but how dollars are allocated to each school, to each student in that school and to each class being taught in that school. The focus is on education, not just on the dollars.

So while many districts and governments are facing difficult times with increasing costs and reduced revenues, there are some answers. The key is where you look for them — in the ’60s and ’70s or in the future.

It’s time for school districts to embrace change, and that change is the GFOA’s “Best Practices in School District Budgeting.”

James W. Gloekler


The writer is a CPA.

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