Thanks to innovations in technology and an increase in testing, there is an unprecedented amount of data available to schools now. However, just because school districts have data, it doesn’t mean they are actually using it to their advantage. In fact, many school districts are data rich but “information poor.”
Your taxpayers expect their tax dollars to be spent wisely and fairly. They entrust school districts and boards of education to effectively manage spending in a way that positively impacts students and the greater community. It is your responsibility to make fiscal decisions that offer the best student education for the tax dollars spent. In this post, we will explore a few strategies to measure academic achievement relative to educational spending.
Understanding the Full Picture
Do you understand the full picture of your school district’s finances? It’s becoming increasingly difficult to bring the necessary information together to accurately analyze financial expenditures when data is scattered throughout your systems. You end up with incomplete reporting that doesn’t give you the visibility you need to get the most out of your budget. Your school district shouldn’t settle for inadequate data. It’s time to establish a system and processes to collect this information, provide a centralized view, and ensure that taxpayer dollars are used wisely to empower staff and impact student outcomes.
Organize and Track Expenditures on a Per Student Basis
A granular look at your costs gives you greater insight into the initiatives within your school district. For example, you can track how much your district’s physical education program costs per student. This approach not only gives you the framework to report to your state and the federal government, but it also provides a consistent and universal way to budget, track expenses, evaluate spending and monitor program performance.
Get Key Stakeholders to Set the Measures of Success
Now that you know the costs on a per student basis, you need a way to evaluate whether the programs achieve success in their respective areas. Stakeholders across the district and the community should help in establishing these success metrics. When you get these stakeholders involved in the research and analysis plan from the beginning, you ensure that programs can be properly assessed later on. After all, they’re the ones with front-line knowledge about what they expect from any new programs. Their input and perspective are invaluable to pinpointing the metrics that make the most sense for the financial analysis. You also get their buy-in when reviewing the results.
Bringing it All Together
The taxpayers in your district expect you to optimize your spending to give the next generation in their community the best education possible. You accomplish this by increasing district-wide visibility and accessing the data you need. You empower staff and serve your students to reach the best of their abilities when you know where you’re effective and what needs improvement. Hoonuit supports districts in evaluating fiscal effectiveness in surfacing the information for deeper discussion and thoughtful action to maximize school spending.
Learn more about how Hoonuit can help you realize the return on your investments by exploring our Finance & Operations data solution.
Andrea Gronberg leads Hoonuit’s marketing team. In her role, she combines creativity, strong communication skills and a passion in making a difference in the lives of learners. Andrea has seven years of experience in education technology where she has balanced her love of learning and business acumen to help transform schools.