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[Budgeting] New & Creative School Funding Sources

[Budgeting] New & Creative School Funding Sources

Funding will always be front of mind for school leaders, no matter what the political situation may be. Every dollar counts. So, before you start having your budgetary discussions for the 2018 — 19 school year, look at these new and creative sources of funding and cost savings that are working around the country.

Partner in Community Coalitions

When a community’s schools are successful, so too are the local businesses, organizations and government agencies. In an alliance of schools, health services, youth development associations, and community engagement groups, everyone benefits.

There are many models for this sort of coalition out there, one of the best-known being community schools. Under this model, local stakeholders organize to improve not only education outcomes, but also public health and social services. The cost savings comes in the ability to tap more funding resources and grants, and in the cooperation of pooling and sharing of capabilities.

Pick the Brains of Local Businesses

Schools and businesses have more in common than you think, starting with the desire to make every dollar count. The difference is that businesses often have access to resources like consultants and data analytics to help them make better purchasing decisions.

Through these processes, local business leaders have learned things that can often be applied to your situation as well, and you can directly borrow some tools. Don’t be afraid to connect with these people outside of work, such as in community groups and charity organizations. Many executives and businesspeople want to help the local schools—they just don’t know how.

Utilize Educational Service Agencies

Educational service agencies (ESAs) are public entities that are usually established and authorized by state or local statute to gather the resources of multiple schools or districts. They are popular in rural areas that may not have the resources to provide certain services, like special education, at each school.

But the idea of pooling resources to share costs, avoid redundancies, and increase buying power is taking hold across the country. If you do not have access to an ESA, it may be worth doing some research to see what needs to happen in your state or district to get one started.

Back Teacher Grant Efforts

Through crowdfunding and a slight increase in philanthropy, the funding sources available to teachers have grown. The problem tends to be (as it often is) that teachers lack the time and means to pursue them. This is where administration comes in.

An administrator’s first step would be to organize a grant writing group. There is always a fantastic grant writer at every school, so let them share their knowledge. When things advance, investigate ways to temporarily alleviate some of the teachers’ burdens so that they can work on their proposals. If they need data, show them how to run the reports themselves or try to be as prompt as possible with their requests. With a few successful grants, you won’t believe the cool equipment and ideas that will be coming into your building. Want to get a jumpstart on planning and budgeting for the next school year? Check out these 6 Tips to Help Administrators Budget for Next Year!