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Budget Development: Setting the Stage for System Transformation

Moving beyond annual across-the-board cuts or incremental investments

The big and small decisions that are made over the course of the budget development process have a tremendous impact on the way schools are funded and how resources are organized across school systems to support students and ensure teachers are setup for success.

How can you make sure that your budget process yields transformational improvements for our students? We see that more often than not it’s the process - tight timelines, siloed decision making, etc., which constrains the ability to make the changes that will have the most impact. There are ways to move beyond this.

At ERS, our School System 20/20 Vision is a guide to district transformation so that every school succeeds because of the system – not in spite of it. At the center of this transformation is how resources are allocated and distributed across the district and schools. Also known as: The budgeting process.

ERS, together with the ERS Aspen Urban CFO Network, developed a checklist for financial leaders to use as they build a strategic budget development process. This list highlights eight key principles to help ensure your district’s budgeting process sets the stage for system transformation.



The ERS Aspen Urban CFO Network is an invite-only, membership-based convening organized by Education Resource Strategies and the Aspen Institute. We bring together the strategic financial leaders of prominent urban school districts across the United States to help them take actions as Strategic CFOs in their own districts and to channel their experience to influence other districts and the broader reform conversation

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