University of Tasmania

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Resource allocation in non-government schools

posted on 2023-05-27, 16:58 authored by Smith, CD
The purpose of the study was to investigate the way in which resources were allocated within non-government schools in Australia. A particular emphasis was the study of the budgeting process in schools which had been identified as effective schools and the identification of the skills evident in those who were involved. The study formed the non-government schools component of the Effective Resource Allocation in Schools Project, a Project of National Significance funded by the Commonwealth Schools Commission. The first stage of the study was a survey of systemic education offices to investigate the manner in which funds were allocated to schools. A questionnaire was sent to all offices in Australia and details sought on the extent to which budgetary decisions were decentralized to the schools. It was found that the extent to which the individual school was involved tended to vary according to the category of expenditure being considered, and that the individual school had more influence in the areas of teaching materials than in any other area. On the basis of the survey results Tasmania and South Australia were chosen as the two states for further study. Systemic offices in these two states gave individual schools a reasonable degree of autonomy in budgeting decisions. The second stage of the study was a survey of a representative sample of the non-government schools in South Australia and Tasmania. The questionnaire sought information on budgeting within schools and, particularly, the involvement of various parties in the decision making process. Data were analysed to identify any variations in practice according to the type of school (systemic or non-systemic, large or small, primary or secondary). The survey package also sought opinions from principals, board members, teachers and parents on aspects of budgeting theory and practice, and indications of the satisfaction of these parties with their level of involvement in the budgeting process. It was found that budgeting tended to be a centralized process in most schools, with the main parties involved being the principal, bursar and board of management. There was general satisfaction with the degree of involvement in the budgeting process, although teachers and parents wished to be more involved in some areas. The educational role of budgeting was accepted by most, and the importance of training in budgeting acknowledged. The third stage of the study comprised case studies of eight schools in South Australia and eight in Tasmania. These schools had been identified as effective by a number of knowledgeable 'raters'. The purpose was to see how these schools allocated their resources and to identify the skills evident in those involved in the budgeting process. The case studies showed that the schools had a well organized and timetabled budgeting process, and that an atmosphere of open communication existed in matters related to resource allocation. Teachers tended only to be involved in areas that closely affected them, such as teaching materials, library materials and furniture. There was generally a formalised procedure for evaluating the budget financially but that educational evaluation was carried out on a much more informal basis. Most principals had not had any training in financial management but saw training in the school situation as the main source of their expertise. There was no uniform pattern of resource allocation in these effective schools. The implications of the results from the study concern the role of teachers in the resource allocation process. It was shown that although teachers tended not to be involved to a great degree, many of the respondents felt that involvement of teachers would be motivating and lead to greater efficiency. Many also felt that teacher education programs should contain a component on budgeting. Further implications concerned the provision of training in budgeting skills for others connected with schools, and the integration of financial and educational planning to ensure that educational goals are matched by the pattern of resource allocation.


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Thesis (M.Ed.)--University of Tasmania, 1988. Bibliography: leaves 181-184

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