40+ Sample School Budgets

What Is a School Budget?

A school budget is a comprehensive budget that outlines an educational institution or school district’s budget for an academic year. All educational levels from elementary school to graduate school are required to come up with a school budget.

According to an online report by the United States Census Bureau, the largest public school expense was instructional salaries totaling nearly $240 billion in 2019 or roughly about 31.9% of the total expenditures for public elementary and secondary education. 

Components of a School Budget

A school budget may comprise several elements, depending on the size and capacity of the school. The following are just some of the most common and universal components that go into a typical school budget. 

Salaries and Benefits. A huge chunk of the school budget is allocated for the salaries of those who work at the school. From school administrators to faculty members down to non-teaching staff and maintenance employees, a school is like any organization that employs people to run it. And where employment contracts are concerned, compensation is always an important aspect. Of course, there are different types of schools based on the size of their academic community. There are small and medium-sized schools, then there are big colleges and universities. The larger the school and student population, then obviously the more teachers and staff are needed. A school budget does not only account for the monthly salaries of their human resources, but also the benefits awarded to faculty and staff such as healthcare and social security. Learning Resources. Another key component of a school budget is the learning resources needed to fund the student’s formal education and training. This is an essential and non-negotiable expense. Learning resources can come in various shapes and forms. Whether it is classroom materials, books, computers, or even audio-visual equipment, any resource that can be used as a tool for learning and for furthering the academic development of students falls under this category. The different department budgets can also be a subcategory of learning resources. Educational institutions are highly structured organizations and within this structure, there can be different academic departments as well. This is especially true for colleges and universities. Each department addresses a specific area of education and their academic curriculum and various programs are all incorporated in the school budget. Overhead Costs. Like a typical business or company, schools are not exempted from operational expenses. They also need to pay for various utilities in order to effectively run the school. Households and businesses need water, electricity, and a stable internet connection. These basic utilities are likewise taken into account in any educational institution’s budget. This type of expense is essential. However, there can be many ways to manipulate overhead expenses in order to save. It is definitely possible to cut costs when it comes to utilities. For example, minimizing the use of air conditioning in classrooms or limiting and regulating water sprinklers in school gardens are just some ways. Using more sustainable methods of water conservation can also make a difference. Infrastructure and Services. Aside from operations costs and learning resources, another important component is school infrastructure and services. Infrastructure, like basic utilities, are needed to create a more conducive learning environment. They support and contribute to the overall learning experience of students. Communication, proper drainage and even waste management are all important components of infrastructure. The different facilities such as classrooms and auditoriums require upkeep and repair in order to keep it conducive to learning at all times. Lastly, the different services offered such as counseling, food service, and even library access help support the academic community in various ways and these services contribute greatly to the students’ overall well-being.

Tips for Crafting a School Budget

Creating a school budget, especially for a large academic community, is no easy feat. There are dozens of things to consider and all stakeholders must be duly represented. If you or your team are tasked to craft a school budget, it’s important to keep in mind these important tips.

Priority is Key. When it comes to creating a school budget or any budget for that matter, it is vital to know that prioritization is key. There are a number of items on a school budget, and some may even be competing for the biggest cut of the budget. And although each may seem important at face value, a deeper and broader analysis can help you rank each item according to urgency and importance. Practicing prioritization also ensures that the most pressing matters are given the proper attention. Note that all these would all depend on the particular needs and objectives of the school. Each academic year may not necessarily be the same as the previous one; new challenges and different circumstances will always be part of the picture. Thus, priorities may shift and change as well. Review Previous Spending. In order to secure a better and improved future, you need to acknowledge the past. This idea applies to budgeting as well. If you want a solid and impactful budget, then you need to base it on something concrete. Thus, it is important to review the spending of the previous academic year. This will give you a better picture of what areas to focus on or items to change as you craft your current budget. Maybe the objectives of the current academic year are different from the last. Again, your budget needs to address the specific objectives that were set. For instance, if faculty development and training are key objectives, then you will have to tweak the budget so that funding can be directed towards the professional growth of the school’s teachers and instructors. Conduct Regular Assessments. A school budget can be twice as effective if regular assessments are conducted, even after the budget has been implemented. A proper follow through is crucial. Regular assessments can be helpful in identifying areas where budget changes or improvement can be applied. Having a reliable auditing process is key to ensuring that the school budget is used responsibly and practically. How effective are the school services? Are they being maximized? Are the learning resources being used in the classroom updated and still relevant? These are the types of questions you should ask. It is important to know exactly where school funds are going because wasteful spending and irresponsible financial planning and management could mean disastrous consequences.

How to Create a School Budget

Creating a school budget requires meticulous planning and strategic execution. It takes a considerable amount of time and effort to craft a well-planned school budget. But if you want to get the job done faster, consider using a template. Simply select a suitable template above and follow the step-by-step tutorial guide below. 

Step 1: Create a Plan 

Before you can begin crafting your school budget, it is important to plan your approach. A budget is not simply a list that you can create in a matter of minutes. You need to be able to gather all the relevant information in order to make sound decisions. It can be helpful to keep in mind that the budget will not just impact your job or your team but its effects can impact the academic community as a whole. You might also need to consult with several stakeholders to ensure a budget that is fair and well-represented. 

Step 2: Set the Objectives 

After you’ve laid out a plan of action, the next step is to establish the objectives. As discussed in the previous sections, having a specific objective or goal is crucial in creating a budget. This gives you a purpose and helps you keep your attention focused on what essentially matters. A school budget can be quite complex with a lot of layers to it; but if you have a set goal, you can learn to prioritize what’s important. Prioritization is easier to do when you have an objective that can set the overall tone for your budget. Try to limit the number of objectives to just a couple of clear and straightforward points, avoid listing too many objectives.   

Step 3: Choose a Template 

After setting the objectives, the next step is to choose a template that meets your budget needs. This way, you don’t have to worry about getting the right format. Using a ready-made template can save you a lot of time and energy. And since a budget requires a specific format, you are all set. A school budget can be presented in various ways. Whether it’s a table, chart, spreadsheet, graph, or a combination of different representations, you can easily input your budget data in the template without having to start from scratch. The selection of templates above are easily editable and downloadable.  

Step 4: Create a Breakdown 

A budget’s main components are its income and expenses. For school budgets, this can vary from school to school. It is important to create a clear breakdown of the school’s different sources of income and the various expenses. In the previous sections, examples of school expenses were thoroughly discussed. Everything from teachers’ salaries down to the overhead costs of the school must be present in the school budget. Further, it is also helpful to categorize your expenses or divide them into different sections or subcategories for a more organized budget report. 


What are the major parts of a school budget?

According to Schuylerville Central School, school budgets can be divided into three major categories, namely administrative component, capital component, and program component.

How do you create a school budget?

To create a school budget, you first need to establish the objective of your budget then create a detailed breakdown of the school’s expenses and income.

Why is a school budget important?

School budgets are important because they help academic administrators manage their institution’s financial resources more wisely and prudently.

A school budget, like any budget, is key in proper financial management. If you are tasked to craft a school budget, get the job done quickly and effectively with the help of a sample template! Browse the extensive template gallery above and customize your own school budget now!