What Are the Key Strategies to Maximize and Obtain Financial Resources in Education?

By LeanStream Engagement on June, 22 2022

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K-12 schools have faced financial difficulties for decades. Budget cuts and lack of enough state support mean these schools continue to struggle to fulfill their mandate. In recent years, schools have received unprecedented funding as part of Covid relief packages; however, much of that money has already been spent or will be spent soon.

Schools will once again be forced to meet rising academic demands with dwindling budgets. In some states, school revenues have fallen by a whopping 30% in the last one and a half decades. 

As a result, they have been forced to look for alternative funding sources that have not been without its fair amount of challenges. Maintaining a K-12 system that meets 21st-century education standards requires the education sector to develop strategies for maximizing and obtaining resources.

This article will walk you through the strategies required to obtain and make the best of the resources available for the public education system.

Being Frugal

School districts have their own rules on making use of the available resources. Once they receive funds, they decide how to distribute the money to schools, from where the principals decide on how to spend the money. 

To maximize the available resources, they should look for ways to reduce excess spending. There are always ways to reduce expenditures that don't negatively affect school operations' smooth running. 

For instance, a principal may look at positions that earn high salaries like Assistant principals (who typically earn more than Deans of students) and replace them with less expensive options. A school with a tight budget could eliminate assistant principals for every grade level and look for more affordable options. 

Additionally, principals can fill vacant teacher positions with students from local teaching colleges who need the credit hours and wouldn't demand hefty salaries.

Involve Principals More

Naturally, principals are more familiar with the financial needs of their schools than the officials running the budgets at the school district level. Principals should be given a more significant say in how budgets are allocated. 

Some schools need additional teachers to run different programs that effectively benefit the students. School districts may not allocate these resources without the principal's direct input in the budget allocation process. 

School superintendents can sit down with principals and discuss the most pressing needs and allocate resources accordingly. If the resources are inadequate, principals will receive a good explanation of why their request will not be fulfilled at that particular time and allow them to make suitable adjustments. 

This collaborative budgeting process between superintendents and principals can significantly improve how schools and districts maximize the available resources. It can enable principals to clearly articulate their schools' unique needs, allow creative solutions from all parties involved, and create a collaborative atmosphere between principals and district leaders. This approach is already being used to great effect by some school districts.

Allocate Resources According to School Needs

In terms of money and staff, more resources should be allocated to schools according to their needs. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Struggling schools should be allocated extra teaching positions and funding to afford extra materials. However, the additional funding should not be used to fill out administrative positions. 

The distribution of resources is rarely equitable. Schools with the most pressing needs should be prioritized to maximize financial resources. More resources should be given to schools in impoverished areas, those serving mainly minority communities and English-language learners. Principals should be given the political cover needed to allow them to direct the available teaching resources according to the student needs in their schools.

Create Strategic Long-Term Plans

All stakeholders in the education sector should create long-term plans (typically 3-5 years) that focus on student outcomes. That way, they can break down the plans into implementation plans that will guide them on using the budget available effectively. With clear goals and how to implement them, the finance leaders at the school district level and principals will allocate the resources effectively.

Cultivate Transparency and Communication

Adopting transparency and open communication culture amongst stakeholders allows all parties to collaborate effectively. Upcoming school initiatives that require resources should be explained to all concerned parties for effective budgeting.

It is an excellent way of fostering trust, good spirit, and support amongst finance officers, school administrators, principals, and other players in the education sector. This allows the parties to maximize the available financial resources. 

Minimize Waste

Eliminating areas where resources are being wasted is another way of maximizing financial resources. Often, schools and school districts oversee half-implemented initiatives that are never completed because of a leadership change along the way. This can be remedied by ensuring that such initiatives are fully completed and provide value to the school [district]. 

Provide Professional Development

Principals, school councils, and other school leaders need to be able to leverage the available financial resources to improve their schools. However, sometimes they lack the relevant knowledge to do that. Providing professional development opportunities for these parties is needed to equip them with the capacity to make the required decisions.

These include but are not limited to one-day conferences, short courses, and formal meetings with relevant stakeholders. 

Most of the time, principals are often left alone and isolated in the school situation. This raises the need to have a network of principal councils where they can discuss financial challenges affecting their schools and how to solve them. 

Some of these strategies might not seem like a lot, but they can significantly impact cost-saving and effectively utilize the available resources over time.  

Wrap Up

Lean Stream supports K-12 schools and the education sector by providing fundraising solutions offering the tools required for all their fundraising needs. These include a needs gallery, teacher honorarium, company giving function, and secure transaction management. LeanStream can also help with the tools to sell tickets, collect fees, and all your education commerce needs.

To see how we can help your school in its fundraising endeavors, don't hesitate to contact us. We are looking forward to hearing from you. 

Fund raising for the entire education family

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