How Principals Develop and Administer a School Budget

The school’s budget may be described as the process of preparing a statement of anticipated revenue and the proposed expenditure.In other words, it is a process for preparing a summary of the programs in the school that will be reflected by the expected revenue.

It can also be seen as a process of relating the expenditure of funds in a systematic way to achieve the planned missions and objectives of a school.

The budget plays a vital role in the functioning of the school.The principal and other persons who are in authority should make every possible effort for the budget to be properly prepared and administered.Every school will not use the same process of preparing and administering the budget.It must be noted however, that there are some important elements that must be carried out by all persons who prepare and administer a budget.

I will now outline the function of the budget as it relates to my school.

a) It ensures the achievement of the school’s objectives- our plans that required the spending of money is taken care of by the budget.

b) The budget compels persons to plan- the principal as well as the bursar have to ensure that they plan in order to spend from the budget.

c) It provides a framework for responsibility of accounting and to establish a system of control.Individuals such as the principal, the bursar, and the bursar’s staff are highly accountable for proper documentation of expenditure.Persons have to spend according the revenue available hence their spending is controlled.

d) It motivates employees to improve on the performance- responsible persons will ensure that books are up to date to reflect both revenue and expenditure.On the other hand, the principal will ensure that the best measure is put in place to collect money such as school fee and book rental fee.This money is usually included in the projected revenue.

In order for a budget to be effective there must be a budget period this is the time span that the budget will cover.At my school the budget period is one year, September to August.Of utmost importance is that the planning of the budget must be done ahead of time so that money can be releases to meet the expenditure period.

At my school various persons are involved in the preparation of the budget.This includes the principal, vice principal, the bursar, senior teachers, as well as subject teachers who usually make requisitions of teaching materials so that proper estimates can be made for instruction.The chairman of the school board also plays a significant role as he is the person who has to approve and sign all documents pertaining to expenditure from the budget.He signs on behalf of the entire school board.

In order to make a logical projection of the new budget the following factors will be looked at from the previous year’s budget.

a) The accomplishment of the developmental plan.For example, my school has a three-year development plan; therefore the principal along with the other persons who prepares the budget would look at what was accomplished in this plan and what is to be done in the new year in relation to the plan.

b) Factors that restrict the output of the budget (why didn’t we achieve all the things we had planned for from the revenue that was available is a likely question that could be asked.)Restricting factors could be the projected amount of the school and book rental fee was not collected.

c) Expenditure for the year that has just ended.Is there a surplus or a deficit existing, this is important to know before the preparation of the new budget.

The principal along with persons such as the bursar and the bursar’s staff will then calculate the money that is expected from sources such as the school fee, book rental scheme, private organizations which may come in the form of grants and scholarships, as well as subsidy from government to cater for all areas within the school.Knowing this estimated revenue will exist so that planning can be more logically done.

The principal will then host meetings with all categories of workers within the school (this meeting is likely to be done according to the different areas in the school).The following are some of what should be looked at to make a plan for the budget.

a) Priorities for the particular year.

b) On going programs that started previously and will still be continuing.E.g. the repairing of school buildings and replacement of chairs.

c) One shot initiatives.In example, a new computer for the library.

d) Instructional materials/ facilities.Examples of this could be classroom materials, money for seminars and field trips, public utilities, maintenance of school plants, as well as other goods and services.

Once all requisitions have been made and the budget has been planned with all necessary persons on staff it should be taken to the school board for approval and signing by the chairman.It should be then sent to the ministry of education and be reviewed.If there is a need for it to be revised the ministry will send it back to the school for this to be done.After the revision has been done and it is again approved and signed, it should be sent back to the ministry for the final acceptance to be given.

Copies of the budget should be made and be given to the chairman, the ministry of education, the principal, and the bursar.

It is highly in the hands of the principal and bursar to be accountable for all spending.Continuous monitoring is done; the process of monitoring includes sending a monthly expenditure report to the ministry of education and the chairman of the school board.Presenting figures does this report.However, a detail term report of the entire operation of the budget should be given to the ministry of education as well as the school board.

The principal along with the bursar should keep the accounting record as accurate and up to date as possible so that auditing can take place without problems arising.

This report was submitted by Dothy Sohan, a student in EDAD 410, The Principalship, in Mandeville, August, 2002



The budget of a school reflects the expenditures for the financial year, April 1 - March 31. It is developed by the school board and is carried out by consulting with the Ministry of Education.

Schools receive funds from several sources. These include the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture (MOEY&C), private organizations, United States Agency for International Development, Churches, Businesses, Clubs, Members of Parliament, Parent Teachers Associations, past students, school fees and book rentals.


In these schools, the amount of money received from the MOEY&C depends on the number of students. The Ministry determines the amount to be paid in the form of a grant to these schools, the principals are responsible for the preparation of the school

budget in consultation with board of management, vice principals, Heads of departments and senior teachers.

The principal ensures that the bursar keeps proper records in accordance with the Financial Act. This entails the cashbook, bank reconciliations, petty cash book records and receipt books.

It is also the principals' responsibility to ensure that proper procedures for withdrawals are followed; for example, all three signatures of the chairman, principal and one other authorized person.

Principals monitor the spending, seeing to it that the bursar spends on a timely manner and that vouchers and copies of bills accompany each payment. They ensure that financial reports are made to the Ministry's financial controller, as required by law. They ensure that the bursar has financial reports for the Board and also advise the Board on expenditures from school accounts.

It is also the principals' responsibility to ensure that: (1) expenditures are recorded in the appropriate accounts, (2) inventory is kept of all materials purchased from public funds, and (3) an internal auditor is appointed by April of each school year, and an up-to-date cheque disbursement book is accurately maintained.

Principals should make sure that they lead as well as manage the school financial plans effectively.

This report was submitted by Thelma Allen, a student in EDAD 410, The Principalship, in Mandeville, August, 2002



A school budget is a statement of expenditure and financial proposals for the ensuing year to be presented to the Ministry of Education Youth and Culture for its approval. This budget has to be approved by the Ministry Of Education, prior to that it is called an estimated budget.

This budget is an essential requirement of all educational institutions, and as such the principal has the responsibility to prepare the document in consultation with the board of management, Heads of Departments, Senior Teachers or any other persons seen fit by him/her.

The school's budget is done on an annual basis, and is prepared ahead of the financial year that begins every April through March. The first step is to analyze the previous year's budget.In so doing, he/she can identify the shortfalls in the budget and ascertain whether or not the needs of that year were appropriately met.Then the new budget can be developed according the changing needs.

In making up the budget the persons involved identify the needs of the school, bearing in mind the student population and to some extent the staff. Sub-headings are established which are as follows:

1) Vehicle upkeep

2) Auxiliary staff

3) Utilities (light, water, telephone)

4) Canteen

5) Instructional material

6) Sanitation

7) Repairs and maintenance

In addition the budget must be accompanied by notes, which include descriptions of intended purchases and costs. An estimated expenditure is now arrived at and the source of income or funding is established.Schools receive donations and contributions in the form of money, materials, labour equipment and other gifts from organizations, institutions as well as individuals. Some of the organizations are:

In addition secondary and high schools receive fees from students for tuition, book rental insurance and the cost-sharing program through which needy students can access financial assistance.

All funds that the institution receives become the property of the

Government and should therefore be treated as funds directly through the

Grants or subventions.

At the Primary and all age level grants are received on a term basis. The funds are sent directly to the principal in cheques drawn to the school. Then cheques are logged in school accounts, and cheques and vouchers are used to spend the money. The cheques that are spent have to be signed by the board chairman. In a nutshell, the chairman ensures that all expenditures are properly approved and receipts. Proper returns have to be made by the principal and in some cases heads of department and persons in charge of the canteen.

Interestingly, the principal cannot spend outside of what is approved on the budget. After the Ministry approves budget copies are sent back to the school and the chairman. The approved budget is accompanied by a warrant that specifies how the budget is allocated.

To delve further into school budget, it is interesting to note that at the secondary level and high school level subvention is given. This is logged to a school account and the subvention is used to pay academic, administrative and auxiliary staff, instructional materials and maintenance and repair.Budgeting allows for proper accounting of the funds entrusted to the principal, which leads to organized budgets that will contribute to the effective operation of the school.

This report was submitted by Janet Graham-Blake, a student in EDAD 410, The Principalship, in Mandeville, August, 2002