Deciding how to maximize your school budget can take a lot of thought and planning. To maximize your budget you have to first look at how it’s been managed in the past. Some questions you need to ponder are: Was there over-spending or under-spending? What were the main focus points? What changes need to happen? Where is there room for improvement? What are the major budget categories that need to be considered? This blog will provide tips on how school leaders can maximize budgets and use funding more efficiently.
Going green can save a lot of money when it comes to energy expenses while helping the world and your pockets. Being only second to salaries, and exceeding the cost of books and supplies, energy costs are a considerable amount of a school’s budget. School districts spend more than $6 billion a year on energy, although with smarter energy management, about a quarter of that could be saved. Taking the initiative to adopt smarter habits could save school districts about $1.5 billion each year. Some ways your school could cut energy costs are:
- Ditch the paper systems and switching to online file storage and alternatives for things like records, registration, payroll, etc.
- Use sensor lighting to ensure lights are only on where necessary
- Manually turn off all lights
- Take advantage of the natural sunlight with windows
- Encourage recycling
- Keep up on the maintenance to ensure all systems are running properly
- Make sure all staff are turning off electronics at night, weekends and holidays
Evaluate Contracting Services
Contracting services, or outsourcing, frees school leaders of non-instructional responsibilities, so they can focus on their primary mission to educate children. Contracting out involves anything from security, transportation, food and nutrition, cleaning and custodial services, and more. These contracts can even be shared between multiple local districts, making it a great way to save money in these areas. Considering your options is important when it comes to contract renewals because you want to make sure you are sticking with the right option. Sometimes the benefits and cost savings can be lower than promised, so it’s important to pay attention to the details and do some research.
Make your Employees a Priority
Investing in employees and making sure they feel appreciated is key in maintaining and improving employee retention and engagement. These individuals are the backbone of schools and make it possible for students to get an education. Keeping your staff happy, engaged, and motivated to do their best job every day is key to having a successful workforce with the same goals in mind as you. If you have people walking out because they feel unappreciated, disrespected, and unprepared, the effort and time you have to spend searching for new people increases. Searching for new employees adds on to labor costs and becomes an unnecessary stressor that could cost you a lot in the end. Put effort into providing your employees with core benefits, training, essential materials, and a positive teaching environment to retain the best and save money while doing it.
Use the School as a Rental Space
Between weekends, nights, and holiday breaks, schools are unoccupied a lot. Offering your space out to local organizations and businesses for meetings, classes, training sessions, etc. for a fixed cost could help generate income. You could rent sports facilities or big hall spaces out for events like parties or fundraisers. You could even rent the parking lot out for paid parking to earn some money if it’s in a strategic area. Get into contact with the right people, and your school could be generating income where space would be going to waste.
Automated Business Processes
Paying for people to put time into payroll, billing, emailing, etc. could be saved by adopting automated business processes. Of course, you have to spend money on these programs, but the money you are spending will ultimately be made back by the increased productivity that is allowed by being able to focus on other things. The time spent doing these tasks can now be spent in different ways, also saving you money on labor.
Creating a school budget takes a lot of planning, and further maximizing that budget is challenging. Make it a priority to use your school budget wisely, while keeping your staff and students in mind. Make cuts where possible, and improvements where necessary. Things that seem small could save millions or even billions of dollars. Follow this blog to begin maximizing your school budget one step at a time.