Where Shall We Begin? Planning and Budgeting for the Coming Year

Where Shall We Begin? Planning and Budgeting for the Coming Year

We all have dreams about the ideal programming we would like to offer our students, the ideal technology we want to utilize in our classrooms, the ideal benefits packages to offer staff, and so forth. The all-too-familiar reality is that the dollars and cents aren’t always there to make those ideals practically come to life. However, instead of dwelling on everything we can’t do, what creative and planful decisions can we make to move towards that ideal reality we envision for our staff and students?

This is the conversation we only just started during our most recent Administrator webinar Where Shall We Begin? Planning and Budgeting for the Coming Year. We had the privilege of hearing from Kirsten Fuglseth (Northwest Service Cooperative) and Kellie McGowan (Metro South ABE) as they responded to these key questions:

  • What data/information are you considering as you are budgeting and planning for next year?
  • What new things are you planning/hoping to fund and why? What are you going to discontinue and why?

A few themes and takeaways from our conversation are listed below, but please WATCH THE RECORDING and/or REVIEW THE SLIDES to see how Kirsten and Kellie fully answered those questions. Lots of ideas and questions were sparked!

Themes and Takeaways (and Questions!)

  • Site-level and staff-level considerations are essential places to start when planning and budgeting, such as looking at the prior year’s outcomes and attendance patterns, considering community partner/district requests for additional programming, factoring in lease agreements, and prioritizing staff contracts.
  • There are additional, ongoing considerations to keep in mind as well: grants needed to start or sustain programming, costs associated with support services, distance learning costs, technology maintenance, special projects and more.
  • Adding new costs that will provide sustainable results are key. Some examples include hiring CTEPs, supporting teachers as they build online courses, expanding online offerings to reach more students (consortium/regional vs. local level only), enhancing program websites, and implementing geofencing marketing strategies.
  • Equally important is to consider what costs could be discontinued. Perhaps that means canceling subscriptions to distance learning platforms no longer in high demand, reducing summer class offerings not readily accessed by students, or restructuring staff positions as makes sense (upon retirement or staff turnover).
  • As always, there are ongoing questions we ask ourselves that have no easy answers! Here are just a few that surfaced during the webinar:
    • How do we pay staff equitably (especially when we are not able to offer benefits packages)?
    • How can we support ongoing costs or projects that add value and stability to programming?
    • How do we leverage the supplemental money that we received this year to build strategic infrastructure that will generate hours in subsequent years?

We want to hear from you!

Please add your own comments and questions to this PADLET! Help us understand what is going well and what questions/puzzles you are wrestling with around the topic of planning and budgeting for the coming year.

Looking Back

If you missed the first two webinars in our Administrator Webinar Series, click on the links below to learn more.

Up Next

There will be an administrator session focused on Hiring & Onboarding New Staff at the Statewide Virtual Conference on April 22.

Lindsey Pust, Numeracy & Special Projects Coordinator ATLAS