Monterio High is a private school located in Fujairah emirates in the United Arab Emirates. The school is accredited by the Central Education Board of India. It has about 800 students. The main revenue for the school comes from the fees paid by the students. The school management board receives the school fees from the parents and budget to facilitate the learning process.
Why Budget Analysis is Needed at Monterio High
Budget analysis refers to a set of tools to help an institution manage its budgeting process. It entails all the functionality essential to defining, editing, processing and reporting on budget information as well as its account balance information (Saez, 2010, p. 2). Budget analysis is meant to help an organization understand how money is spent and managed and whether the prepared budget meets the goals of that organization (Finkler, Smith, Calabrese, and Purtell, 2016, p. 435).
Monterio High needs a budget analysis to succinctly capture its expenditures, be able to manage their resources and determine whether they can help the school meet its goals. The budget analysis also helps the school to prioritize areas of development that are most relevant to the vision and mission of the school. Budget analysis is a tool for accountability (Jackson, Johnson, and Persico, 2015, p. 157). Thus, the school needs a budget analysis to maintain accountability of how the school resources are managed. Furthermore, de Castilla Brinson and Mellor (2005) suggests that a school needs a budget analysis to help align resources with learning improvement agendas, targeting achievement gaps, managing the politics of learning-focused leadership and for development of school capital. These aspects are necessary to the attainment of academic success at Monterio High.
Tools for Budget Analysis
There are various tools for budget analysis that can help Monterio High to analyze their spending and focus on effective management of school resources. One such tool is excel spreadsheets which are used to calculate the staffing needs, expense summary table and to calculate the impact of changing class sizes. Another tool is a resource check tool which may be downloaded from the internet of designed by the school management to help guide in understanding self-reported alignment with research-based budgetary practices. Also, the school may use resource allocation to analyze the current use of resources and help decide how best to use the available resources to accomplish objectives for school improvement (de Castilla Brinson and Mellor, 2005, p. 89).
Types of Budgets at Monterio High
Monterio High maintains three types of budgets; current, long-term and school program budgets. The current budget outlines the incomes and expenditures on recurrent items such as salaries for teaching and non-teaching staff, purchasing materials such as sanitary and contingency (School Budget Planning Guide, 2013). This budget usually runs for a year. Sources of income for this budget are students' fee payments for tuition, examination, medical fees and game and sports levies. The budget organizes activities for the students such as cultural programs, teaching, sports, examination, and construction.
Long-term budget is financial plan aimed at helping the school to attain long-term objectives (School Budget Planning Guide, 2013). Long-term budgets run for five, ten or even twenty years. A long-term budget outlines the sources of income and possible heads of expenditure for five years at Monterio High. It is from this long-term budget that the school prepares the current budgets.
On the other hand, school programme budget is a financial plan prepared by the school for specific programmes (School Budget Planning Guide, 2013). For example, when the school intends to host a competition, it prepares a budget outlining sources of income and expenditures to cover the event.
Strategies for Analyzing Current Spending at Monterio High
Analyzing current spending and budgetary allocations within a school are highly advised to accurately establish if that institution is adequately meeting its goals (School Budget Planning Guide, 2013). To analyze the current spending at Monterio High, there are some strategies to employ. One is cost analysis to find ways to get the greatest results from each resource level. Resource allocation decisions are enhanced by articulating desired outcomes and costs and benefits linked to reaching higher standards measured and understood (Roza, 2009, p. 9). One good cost analysis strategy is converting costs to per unit terms such as examining per unit cost to consider trade-offs or per student cost across the school budgeting process. Another strategy is creating incentives to improve teaching and learning to ensure that allocation of resources is closely associated with the school goals and improvement agendas (Bruns, Filmer and Patrinos, 2011, p. 78). Also, the school can research on the spending in classrooms as a way of analyzing its current spending. This involves breaking down spending in teacher professional development and staffing structure to allow schools to align costs with goals (Odden, 2008, p. 63).
Cost Saving Strategies
Monterio High can employ some strategies to save on costs. One is outsourcing. Outsourcing helps a school to reduce its costs on non-Instructional services (Gupta, Kanthi Herath, and Mikouiza, 2005, p. 396). Outsourcing allows the school to get high-quality services while avoiding costs such as labor that would be needed to produce such necessities. Another strategy is saving energy. The school may invest in sensors to ensure that lights are automatically turned off when they are not required (Levenson, 2010, p. 235). Outsourcing and energy saving can reduce recurrent expenditures by a huge margin.
Future Plans for Budget Implementation
To ensure that the school continues its spending with the goals of the institution, it is recommended that the budget is linked to the school development plan (SDP). Supporting the SDP with a budget plan ensures its viability (School Budget Planning Guide, 2013). The long-term budgets should be a financial expression of the SDP, and the year one of the SDP should be entirely costed with subsequent years such that it shows indicative costing.
Bruns, B., Filmer, D. and Patrinos, H.A., 2011. Making schools work: New evidence on accountability reforms. World Bank Publications.
De Castilla Brinson, V.R., and Mellor, L., 2005. How Are High-Performing Schools Spending Their Money? A Case Study.
Finkler, S.A., Smith, D.L., Calabrese, T.D., and Purtell, R.M., 2016. Financial management for public, health, and not-for-profit organizations. CQ Press.
Gupta, A., Kanthi Herath, S. and Mikouiza, N.C., 2005. Outsourcing in higher education: an empirical examination. International Journal of Educational Management, 19(5), pp.396-412.
Jackson, C.K., Johnson, R.C. and Persico, C., 2015. The effects of school spending on educational and economic outcomes: Evidence from school finance reforms. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 131(1), pp.157-218.
Levenson, N., 2010. First-person tale of cost-cutting success. Stretching the school dollar: How schools and districts can save money while serving students best, pp.235-262.
Odden, A., 2008. CPRE's school finance research: Fifteen years of findings. Consortium for Policy Research in Education, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin.
Roza, M., 2009. Breaking down school budgets. Education Next, 9(3).
Saez, E., 2010. Tools of budget analysis: 131 Undergraduate public economics. UC Berkeley.
School Budget Planning Guide (2013). Retrieved March 21, 2018, from http://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/en/councilservices/educationandlearning/s services/Schlein/pages/budget_funding.aspx
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