TregoED Blog

Making your Budget Decisions Make Sense

“When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say – and two-thirds thinking about him and what he is going to say.” – Abraham Lincoln

Think back on unsuccessful recommendations that you or others may have made.  There are many reasons recommendations “fail”, but there is one common – and completely avoidable – reason:  they are not aligned with the decider’s objectives.   If someone else must approve a recommendation, you better believe he/she will be looking at how it supports their goals and objectives!

You know how budget requests typically go:  ask for the moon (knowing you won’t get it) in order to at least get something substantial.   At Springfield (MO) Public Schools, the Education Services leadership team decided to do it differently.  They were preparing to submit their detailed departmental budget request for the 2014-15 school year.  It would require first cabinet and then Board approval.  The Board had recently released some specific and clearly-articulated priorities: teacher support, student preparedness, and efficient use of resources.  So this leadership team carefully crafted a budget request that spoke directly to those priorities.  They showed how the request would clearly help further those goals – and how the requested amount was necessary to make it happen. 

Of course, not all requests can or should be honored.  But well-crafted budget requests that show clear linkage to stated priorities can significantly increase the likelihood of favorable outcomes!