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Financial Accounting for Local and State School Systems: 2009 Edition
NCES 2009-325
June 2009

Chapter 3: Budgeting — Planning for Annual and Multiyear Construction and Grant Programs

The following steps are basic to the planning process for both annual and multiyear construction and grant programs:

  • Review the stated goals and objectives to determine that they provide a valid basis for the entity's activities and operations. Although normally developed during the strategic planning process, goals and objectives should be periodically reviewed for appropriateness.
  • Conduct formal or informal needs assessments or both. Most strategic plans include one or more needs assessments. The criteria used are usually developed locally; however, some granting agencies may require specific criteria. A methodology that provides objective measurement of the needs of the unit under review is necessary and should include financial and other forecasts in order to properly identify those needs.
  • Design programs to attain the goals and objectives determined through the needs assessment(s). The assessment process should identify and prioritize needs. From the results of this process, program plans should be developed that meet the organization's needs. Program planning should use an integrated approach to prevent the duplication of efforts, ensure the efficient use of resources, and ensure that all identified needs are addressed.
  • Prepare program budgets to support implementation plans. The traditional budgetary approach has been to appropriate only those monies necessary for the costs of the program or project in its first fiscal year. At year end, the appropriation expires and monies must be reallocated for each subsequent year of the program or project. This approach is unnecessarily complex and may distract administrative and board focus from important budgetary issues. To avoid these problems, the development of multiyear program budgets, whether for capital or special programs, is recommended if state and local statutes permit multiyear budgeting.