K-12 Education

10 Best Practices in K-12 School Budgeting

Gerry McDonald

Understanding school district budgets can be a complicated and often frustrating matter. There are many factors to consider, and often the idea of managing a full budget can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, you’re not alone. There are hundreds of districts across the country feeling frustrated with K12 school budgeting. There are also financial experts, like Questica, here to offer help and support. So, if you’re wondering how to best handle your school’s budget, here are 10 of the best practices to implement.


Whether you’re looking for advice on K12 school budgeting or how to best utilize your financial planning software, turn to Questica for quick and helpful answers. Since 1998, Questica has been working to make handling finances easier and better for public sector and non-profit organizations. We manage over $63 billion in annual budgets, and we want to help you. Please visit our website for more information and consider signing up for one of our free webinars.


10 best practices to use for K-12 school budgeting

Catalog your resources

It is important to not only know how much money is coming into your school, but also where it’s coming from. This is in case certain money — such as donation funds — needs to be used for a specific purpose.


Make budget categories

Separate out your costs for transportation, special event days, and so on.


Staff planning

Many people will immediately think of salaries as the first major component to school budgeting. While salaries are important, it is equally essential to factor in the money spent on hiring new staff, or making severance packages.


Salary and benefit planning

Teacher satisfaction is critical to long-term effectiveness of a school. One way to ensure educator satisfaction is to have a solid plan of regular pay increases and benefits.


Multi-year budgeting

Schools are, by their very nature, continuously changing. It’s best to budget out your five or even ten-year plan, to help meet your institution’s goals.


What-if scenarios

Planning is helpful, but sometimes it’s necessary to expect the unexpected. Budget out alternative scenarios to be better prepared if the worst comes to pass.


Performance management

Performance management is a popular method for educational budgeting. It works very well because it allows your administration to see which areas of your school are thriving, and budget accordingly. It also incentivizes teachers to perform their best, in order to receive a budget increase, the following year.


Reporting and auditing

Regular auditing helps your school to maintain transparency with its budget and finances. Additionally, an open assessment of your financial status provides useful data for forecasting future budgets.  



Goals are helpful, but also keep in mind the day-to-day structure of your school: how it’s run, and how much it costs to run.


Keep an eye on unnecessary expenditures

Schools sometimes need to make cuts. Often, that money unfortunately comes from extracurricular programs. However, sometimes unnecessary expenditures crop up, giving some leeway. By examining workflow, it’s easier to see where cuts can be made.


Questica software works for K12 school budgeting

One way to implement these practices is to have dedicated financial planning software that simplifies the hassles of budgeting. Questica software boasts years of a proven track record for education organizations, including K12 schools. Our software assists with staff planning and salary modules, and we integrate with your already existing systems. With Questica, you’ll be able to forecast, categorize, and chart your workflow easier than ever before. We are a passionate team of technology experts and business specialists with decades of collective experience managing finances and budgeting software, and we want to help you! To learn more about how Questica’s software can help you, download a whitepaper or take a product tour. You can also learn more about upcoming Questica Connect events happening in 2018.