The auditors evaluated the budgeting processes utilized by the district during the 2000-01 school year using criteria for a curriculum-driven budget. The criteria and the auditor’s assessments are shown in Exhibit 5.1.2.
Exhibit 5.1.2 Components of a Curriculum-driven Budget and Adequacy of Use in the Budget Development Process Clover Park School District 2001
Curriculum-driven Budget Criteria
Tangible, demonstrable connections are evident between assessment of operational curriculum effectiveness and allocation of Resources.
Rank ordering of program components is provided to permit flexibility in budget expansion, reduction, or stabilization based on changing needs or priorities.
Each budget request or submittal shall be described so as to permit evaluation of consequences of funding or non-funding in terms of performance or results.
Cost benefits of components in curriculum programming are delineated in budget decision-making.
Budget requests complete for funding based upon evaluation of criticality of need and relationship to achievement.
Priorities in the budget are set by participation of key educational staff in the decision-making process. Teacher and principal suggestions and ideas for budget priorities are incorporated into the decision-making process.
As shown in Exhibit 5.1.1 auditors did not considered any of the six criteria to be adequate in the 2000-01 budgeting process. Further comments are provided on each criterion.
The financial database and management network must be able to track costs to planned results and be used as viable tools in making policy and operational decisions both at the school and district levels. Conscience connection from plans to budget was not consistently or systematically occurring. While this linkage was suggested in Board Policy 7000, the superintendent’s letter, and in levy publicity, it has not occurred in practice.
No formally documented rank ordering of system-wide priorities, tied to the budget, was presented to auditors. The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) Section 4.6.1 - Implementation of Site Decisions sets forth the purpose of, “improv(ing) the quality of instruction programs…to seek new and creative strategies and solutions.” Further direction is given in 4.6.3.c, “Decisions are made in support of the major areas identified in the school plan to ensure implementation.” With each school selecting its own National Model, rank-ordering of priorities varies widely and is inconsistent among elementary, middle, and high schools (see Finding 3.2).
Cost Benefits Analysis
CBA Section 4.5.3.d states, “All strategies and decisions are made with overt consideration of how the action will improve teaching and student learning.” While direction was given to evaluate program efficacy (how action will improve teaching and student learning), no system-wide evidence was presented that this has occurred (see Finding 4.3). Consequently, cost benefit analysis of current programs was not available nor were forms presented to the auditors representing this step in budget planning.
Clover Park School District Audit Report Page 101