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School Districts Tackle Tight Budgets

Hands of several people at a desk reviewing documents; a laptop off to the side

Budget season often presents challenges for school boards and district leaders, but this year is measuring up to the woes experienced back in the 2011-12 school year. 

A recent The 74 article, School Boards Face Their Most Difficult Budget Season Ever, provides some key takeaways and a link to a training opportunity to navigate these challenges. 

Tackling a school district budget is a monumental task in any given year. It is much different than a household budget, and the impacts of steps taken and decisions made can be lasting. Therefore, it is important for school board members and district leaders to take a collaborative approach. Creating an action plan can help keep this effort on track, on point, and on time.

Following are some considerations that can be taken into account as school boards and district leaders work through this budget season:

  • Revisit district goals.
  • Determine and align budget goals with the district’s mission and vision.
  • Identify the budget deficit if one exists.
  • Make data-driven decisions.
  • Determine reasonable ways to balance the budget equitably and thoughtfully.
  • Consider the impact of adjustments on instructional programs and district operations alike.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Not all district leaders nor board members were serving in their current roles in 2011-12. Those who were can share lessons learned and provide guidance to others. Individuals who weren’t should be free to express their thoughts and feelings. It is important for all participants to feel valued in the process.

Students, parents, and the community are relying on the school board and district leaders to act in their best interest, to ensure the district remains fiscally sound, and to make decisions that continue to support student learning. Through intentionality, this can be accomplished.

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Karen Dooley
Karen Dooley
HR Services Assistant Director

Karen Dooley joined HR Services in 2016. She provides oversight to a team of consultants providing staffing services, HR reviews, and other projects. She provides training and assists school districts with their HR-related needs. Dooley is a seasoned administrator with more than 17 years of HR experience in Central Texas districts as a coordinator, director, and assistant superintendent. She also worked as an assistant principal, counselor, and teacher, and holds a superintendent certificate.

Dooley received her master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University and her bachelor’s degree from Texas State University.

HR Services

TASB HR Services supports HR leadership in Texas schools through membership offerings in specialized training, consulting, and other services.
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