Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) is a budgeting technique that requires school administrators to justify every budget line item from scratch each budget cycle, regardless of whether the line item has been funded in the past. In other words, the budget starts at zero and must be built from the ground up.
In education, zero-based budgeting can be used to help school districts allocate their resources more efficiently and effectively. By requiring administrators to justify each budget item, ZBB can help identify areas of waste or inefficiency and encourage a more thoughtful and strategic approach to spending.
For example, a school district using ZBB might require each school to justify its budget requests for things like staffing, supplies, School Management System, and programs. School administrators would need to provide evidence that the requested funds are necessary to support student learning and achievement, and that the costs are reasonable and aligned with the district’s priorities.
While zero-based budgeting can be a powerful tool for improving resource allocation, it can also be time-consuming and resource-intensive. It requires careful planning and coordination, as well as a strong commitment to data-driven decision-making. Therefore, it is not always the best approach for every school or district, and should be implemented with care and consideration.