the process has a prescribed timeline for preparing and adopting a budget, it includes no systematic prioritizing of proposals based on performance data and needs assessments. There is no provision in policy or in practice to ensure the equitable distribution of resources to areas of highest needs (see Findings 3.5 and 5.1). Inconsistencies in the knowledge and skills required to manage building level budgets has created frustration and inefficiencies (see Findings 1.4, 5.1, and 5.3). Further, auditors found no indication of systematic long-range financial planning as part of the site-based or district budgeting practices (see Findings 1.2 and 5.1).
With the stability provided by a recently approved four-year levy and multi-year labor contract, district leaders can focus on an improved process for developing a budget with priorities that ensure linkage from financial planning to student achievement results.
Governance Functions: The following actions are recommended to the Clover Park School District Board of Directors:
G.6.1: Direct the superintendent to revise Policy 7000 so that it provides overall direction for program-based budgeting using criteria noted in Exhibit 5.1.2.
G.6.2: Direct the superintendent to establish procedures, which communicates the budgeting process and goals throughout the system and requires budget and staffing proposals to reflect a direct connection to established data-driven priorities.
G.6.3: Direct the superintendent to revise the Budget Development Timeline to incorporate procedures identified in Action A.6.3.
G.6.4: Require, as part of the budget development process, a presentation from the administration to communicate how the proposed budget addresses the goals and priorities and responds to student and program evaluation data. The presentation should include an evaluation of the effectiveness of the previous year’s budget in achieving district priorities.
G.6.5: Direct the superintendent to establish a four-year-plan which, when implemented, will lead to successful implementation of Actions G.6.1 through G.6.4.
Administrative Functions: The following actions are recommended to the Clover Park School District Superintendent:
6.1: Draft and propose the revised Policy 7000 identified in Action G.6.1.
6.2: Establish procedures which communicate the budgeting process and goals throughout the
system and require budget and staffing proposals to reflect a direct connection to the established data-driven priorities (see Action G.6.2).
A.6.3: Revise the Budget Development Process and Timeline (see Action G.6.3) to ensure that the budget planning process moves beyond a spreadsheet accounting function so that leaders and budget managers are focused on goals and program results as they develop their financial plans. Clear connections must be established between the student performance information and the basic instructional and support areas of the budget. Undertake steps similar to the following to increase the connection of programs and priorities with budgeting decisions:
Using the current construction of the budget, identify various educational activities or programs and group them into broad areas of need or purpose served.
Assign a budget/program manager to each program or budget request. Direct them to prepare a concise and meaningful budget package for their respective areas.
Attach a goal statement to each program area or budget request which states the program’s linkage to established goals and priorities, its purpose, the criteria for identifying success, and how these will be evaluated. Each budget request should be described so as to permit evaluation of the consequences of funding or non-funding in terms of performance results.
Clover Park School District Audit Report Page 123