Strategic Budgeting

Make the most of tight budgets and do the best for students

Our Perspective

Funding your top priorities is still possible

Facing tight budgets, rising student needs, and increasing expectations, districts must carefully assess what is working successfully and what is not and make courageous choices to shift resources to priority initiatives where they can do the most good for students. With better information in hand, your school and district leaders can proactively develop plans for spending, staffing, and resource allocation to better meet the needs of your students.

Our Approach

DMGroup’s approach to school district budgeting holds your strategic vision as a guiding force while leveraging data analysis and benchmarking to understand relative merits of resource allocation choices. Evaluating budgeting tradeoffs through this lens, our strategic budgeting approach will help you ensure that district teaching and learning priorities are reflected in resource allocation decisions.

  • Create a clear vision of district priorities so all involved in budgeting know what is most important
  • Analyze where resources are currently being spent and adopt an Academic-Return-on-Investment mindset for reviewing program investments
  • Compare current spending against best practices and like-district benchmarks
  • Develop scenario models, enabling you to explore “what if” scenarios for resource allocation
  • Add precision and transparency to general education staffing decisions
  • Consider student-centered resource allocation models that ensure equity for students and empower schools to do the best for students

Key Benefits

Align resources to support your district’s priorities

  • Enhance your team’s capacity to evaluate the effectiveness of investments and to communicate about major resource shifts.
  • Build stakeholder buy-in for budgeting decisions with an information-rich discussion of trade-offs and clear priorities.
  • Provide visibility to how resource allocation decisions impact student achievement.
  • Ensure resources are allocated fairly and equitably where they will do the most good for the most students
  • Better position the district to adapt to challenges with flexible scenario modeling

Consulting Services

Build student-centered budgets despite tight resources

Consulting Service

Budget and Strategy Alignment Review

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Review your budget with a systematic approach designed to provide visibility to how resource allocation aligns to district priorities.

Review Priorities

We begin by reviewing your strategic plan to identify district priorities and theory of action that can be used as a guide to align resource allocation decisions to strategic priorities.

Build Capacity

We work with your team to build a holistic understanding of strategic budgeting approaches aligned to your theory of action for raising student achievement, so all involved in the budgeting process have a clear vision of what actions, strategies, and spending is most important to raise student achievement.

Gather Data

We gather readily available granular level data to develop a clear picture of how resources are actually being spent.

Analyze Budget

We conduct in-depth analysis of resource allocations and impacts then review this data against identified needs, priorities and best practices benchmarks. The final report provides district leaders with clear information about how well budget allocations align with district strategy and priorities.

Consulting Service

Strategic Budget Development

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Restructure your budget to prioritize impactful programs and approaches aligned to district priorities. Our facilitation of the budgeting process will enable you to explore different service delivery models and examine ways to manage staffing most effectively while delivering maximum results for students.

Review Budget Alignment

After completing the Budget and Strategy Alignment Review process (above), we can help restructure your budget, allocating resources to fill gaps and address your strategic priorities.

Evaluate Programs

Where appropriate, we will conduct a thorough analysis of programs using our Academic-Return-on-Investment framework to identify which programs are most effective and cost-effective and for which students.

Model Staffing Scenarios

If staffing analysis is needed, we can conduct a staffing review to analyze how staff time is currently being spent and to compare current service delivery models against best practices.

Facilitate Budget Development

Working closely with district leaders and stakeholders, we provide support as you weigh the merits of different scenarios and develop a budget aligned with your strategic priorities that makes the most of your available resources.

Consulting Service

Site-Based Budgeting Support and Implementation

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Empower school-based leadership while ensuring systems and structures are in place to support an effective school-based budget management process. We help districts establish clear guidelines for site-based budget management and develop budget management capacity of school-based teams to make effective decisions about resource allocation.

Consulting Service

Weighted Student Funding Support and Implementation

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Develop and implement student-centered resource allocation approaches that ensure funding is equitable for students, schools are empowered to meet student needs, and there is transparency to ensure all relevant stakeholders understand how the resource allocation process works.

Consulting Service

Long-Term Strategic Financial Planning

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Develop a district-specific financial modeling framework that enables you to plan beyond the typical one-year budget cycle and develop strategies for addressing district challenges and meeting priorities within differing potential funding, needs and enrollment scenarios.

Looking for Professional Development?

We can provide customized professional development programs for your district to build capacity for strategic budgeting and develop an Academic-Return-on-Investment (AROI) mindset, including coaching, workshops for your leadership team, and retreat facilitation for your cabinet and/or school board.

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Client Result

South San Antonio ISD (TX) closed a $4 million budget gap and identified an additional $4 million to reallocate to strategic priorities while also improving outcomes for students.

Read the Success Story

DMGroup was very helpful in reallocating our resources into other areas that would have more impact on our instructional program. We were able to do some restructuring of our budget, and we've had some very good accountability results, performance results... so the work was very helpful.

Dr. Abelardo Saavedra, Former Superintendent South San Antonio ISD (TX)

Interested in something more specifically tailored to meet your needs?

DMGroup can provide custom-tailored support to help your school district in the area of strategic budgeting. If you have a unique need, reach out to let us know how we can help you.

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