When you have limited funds for your school district, you need to look at how to save a little money. By looking at all aspects of your budget, you can find plenty of ways to trim those costs without compromising the quality of your students’ education.
With creative solutions and careful budgeting, you can continue to provide a solid education for all of those children in your district while you save some money.
Are you looking for a hassle-free way to manage those financial matters? At Edsembli, we have the solution to help you improve your financial health across your school system!
Review Your Budget
Before you can make any cuts, you need to understand where all of the money comes from and where it goes. You will want to take stock of your budget. Take time to sit down with your district leadership team and look at the budget. You might want to ask your financial offers to take the lead so that everyone knows what those numbers mean.
In many cases, your budget is at the mercy of federal, state, and local tax money. You can never count on the funds to increase for the following year. That money could dry up at any time. When you want to map out the budget for the fiscal year, there is plenty of uncertainty in your funding sources. Take a look at where your budget has grown significantly in the past years to find the weakest links in your district.
Consider Other Learning Formats
You can cut costs by using a few of those alternative learning formats. Not only can you save money, but you can impress your parents by being at the forefront of education. With hybrid learning options, your students will get the best of both worlds, allowing them to get access to teachers in person and online. Since the students can meet with teachers through an online platform, you can save money. Teachers will be able to share resources, which can cut down the amount of time that students spend in your facilities.
When teachers collaborate and work across multiple online classrooms, that can also save costs. Plus, there is no need for paper materials when you work online. These digital and hybrid approaches will require you to invest in learning management systems, but those costs will pay off in almost no time. If you can open up your services to a larger audience, you can produce a new revenue stream.
Remember Energy Efficiency
One of the most significant ways to cut your school’s expenses is to become energy-efficient. Those costs can put a massive dent into your school’s budget. Energy Star suggests that around 30% of school districts do not efficiently use their energy. It is easy to become energy efficient in your schools. You can track energy usage to see where there are spikes to make adjustments.
If you use outdated equipment, you may want to invest in new and efficient heating and cooling systems. You should look for equipment with the Energy Star seal to ensure that those products meet government standards for better efficient use. When it comes time for building upgrades, consider the status of the lighting, roofing, and insulation. These components can impact the comfort levels of your employees and students. Your staff might mean turning up the thermostat for those drafty buildings, leading to higher energy bills.
Remember to turn off the lights in all unused spaces and even minimize lighting in those hallways. Set those thermostats to lower temperatures when people are not in the building, including on the weekends. It is vital to track energy every day. You might even want to work together with other districts to help improve everyone’s energy costs. All of these steps can help reduce energy costs.
Re-Evaluate Staffing Needs
It can be challenging to look at your current staffing and decide to make cuts. While no one wants to think about laying off staff members, you need to be open and transparent about the process.
In some cases, the only solution is to lay off those staff members. You will need to look at the performance of your teachers to determine the weakest performers. Consider outsourcing some of that work, such as food service workers, bus drivers, and security guards. When you hire an outside company, you can gain expert service to help lower your district’s costs.
Reformat Benefits Packages
Think about this: the average benefits package adds up to 30% of an employee’s overall compensation. In simple words, school districts pay out a lot of benefits. If you are looking for cost-cutting strategies, trim those benefit packages. While you don’t want to eliminate the perks of working in your district, you can make a few adjustments. For example, you can mandate that a new employee has to work a longer period to receive benefits.
Invest in a Financial Management System
You might have to spend money to save money. While that might seem counterintuitive, a financial management system can help you manage your district. These platforms allow schools to overcome roadblocks in their financial management. You can modernize how you track, transfer, and allocate funds in your budget.
These systems will enable seamless communication between the school and administration, eliminating the need for third-party integration. That helps enhance data connectivity across all departments and improves operational efficiency. In addition to that, you can take advantage of that built-in reporting functionality, which will help your district remain compliant with regulatory requirements. Finally, you can streamline the financial process to help expedite purchase orders, expenses reports, inventories, and requisitions with an easy-to-use interface.
Manage Facilities Better
Once again, you will want to look at parts of your school district. If you have unchecked or underused schools, it might be time to make a game plan to cut that fluff. This is the time to assess all of your school’s usage. You might want to think outside of the box. Consider renting out your building on the weekend. Scheduling routine checks on all heating and cooling systems, windows, bathrooms, and floors are essential. You can assign staff members to complete repairs, saving on outside costs. Don’t think you can have the librarians make those painting repairs. Only trained maintenance staff members should handle those tasks.
Reduce Transportation Costs
If you have a district that offers bus services, you already know that fuel costs can hurt your budget. Transportation costs can gorge any budget. It can be hard to see what you need to set aside for those costs with those fluctuating oil prices. While field trips are fun for students and teachers, those experiences can come at a high price. You will want to find out if those trips are necessary. Think about asking those students and teachers to “brown bag” their lunches, and you may want to require teachers to map out their budget before taking a class trip.
Reduce Paper Usage
When you think of your school, you probably have stacks of paper in the offices and classrooms. Paper products are a necessity, but they come at a cost. See where the departments are using papers, and check if they can move to a paperless system. You might want to eliminate forms to reduce red tape. Ask your employees to bring tablets and laptops to meetings rather than relying on printed documents. A few tasks, such as job applications and class registrations, can be done with a peerless system. Online portals are a great way to allow students, teachers, administrators, and parents to see all of those critical documents.
Choose Cheaper & Healthier Lunches
Making a few healthier choices for your students’ lunch can save a bit of money. Consider swapping out pizza for carrots and hummus. Not only can you reduce costs, but you will provide your students with a nutritious meal. When students eat healthier, they will be more alert in your classrooms.
Contrary to popular perception, serving healthier lunches can reduce those food costs. You can load up the students’ meals with whole grains and vegetables, making them a better alternative to unhealthy meal choices. In many districts, there have been profits after they have switched to healthier lunch offerings.
With these few tips, you can make a couple of cuts to your budget. Making those difficult decisions can be tricky, but you can quickly implement these changes for your next school year. You can find cost-saving ways to reduce your budget by taking these steps.
Are you looking for an easy solution to manage your finances at your school? At Edsembli, we have a comprehensive financial management system to help track those funds in your school or entire district!