Journal for Effective Schools
Volume 11, Number 1
are more inclined to consider alternative service delivery, are escalating evaluation efforts, and are attempting to link budget allocations to specific outcomes or results. This link and the idea of resource reallocation is an on-going process. The data also reveal that performance-based budgeting may have a positive correlation to student achievement. School district officials see a positive relationship in how their budget provides programs needed to increase student achievement. Awareness of this connection should encourage improved budgeting practices. Likewise, quantitative data suggest a positive correlation between performance-based budgeting and student achievement. This is an important finding. In addressing the challenges of meeting high accountability standards for every student, it is important that school districts utilize every possible tool in securing increased student achievement. The data suggest that school business officials have changed in their perceptions about the relative priority of certain budget decision-making criteria, and school districts are refining their budgeting processes to become more performance-based with the goal of positively influencing student achievement.
Conclusion Targeting resources towards the most effective strategies, programs, and initiatives is of vital importance to school administrators. In an era of high-stakes public accountability, the stakes are high for school districts as well as for budget professionals. The community is demanding results and is ready to consider other service providers (e.g., charter schools and on-line offerings) if public schools cannot deliver. Simply put, to do nothing only guarantees that public education will continue to come under greater scrutiny and control. As administrators, we need to think differently than we have in the past and meet our challenges. Effective budgeting promises to help in these efforts. Indeed, a Center on Education Policy (2008) study confirmed, student achievement has increased (and the achievement gap has decreased) since the introduction of NCLB, and this has resulted from many interconnected policies and programs. A budget process more focused on educational outcomes can help increase student achievement. As Odden & Monk (1995) indicated, the educational system needs to be restructured so that the significant resources which the taxpayerâ€™s have provided 80