The Region 14 Comprehensive Center hosted a four-part webinar series in September 2023 focused on supporting school districts in navigating the complexities of a post-ESSER landscape using best practices in fiscal health.
As districts go into the 2023–24 school year, they face many potential fiscal challenges, including the wind-down of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, persistent declines in student enrollment, and strained state budgets. The webinar series introduced six fiscal health principles that support sustainable and strategic budgeting practices and how to apply these principles to districts' common fiscal challenges.
Session Descriptions and Recordings
Session 1 - Strategic Resource Allocation: Aligning Resources with Student Need
In the first of a four-part series on key fiscal health principles for strategic budget practices, the Region 14 Comprehensive Center is hosting a webinar on fiscal planning and processes for identifying and aligning resources with student needs. Participants will also hear from Mr. Kevin Knapp from Metro Nashville Public Schools, who will share how one district’s finance office aligns financial planning practices with other district program staff to ensure a sustainable and student-centered budget.
Session 2 - Responsive Resource Management: Navigating Enrollment Challenges for Sustainability
In the second of a four-part series on key fiscal health principles for strategic budget practices, the Region 14 Comprehensive Center hosted a webinar on fiscal planning and addressing enrollment shifts for a sustainable budget. Participants heard from Mr. Earl Burke, Chief Financial Officer of Jackson Public Schools, who shared his perspectives on how one district is responding to enrollment and revenue changes post-ESSER.
Session 3 - Navigating Inflation: Leveraging Funding Sources for Financial Resilience
In the third of a four-part series on key fiscal health principles for strategic budget practices, Region 14 Comprehensive Center hosted a webinar on addressing fiscal challenges such as inflation by leveraging funding sources through blending and braiding funds. Dr. Eric Saunders from the Arkansas Department of Education will shared why the three principles of fiscal accounting, cash management, and internal controls are vital before any district can engage in strategic fiscal practices.
Session 4 - The Value of Fiscal Transparency: Communicating Financial Investments Post-ESSER
In the fourth and final session on key fiscal health principles for strategic budget practices, the Region 14 Comprehensive Center hosted a webinar discussing how and why transparent and clear communication about financial reporting to the superintendent and local school board members is critical for healthy budget practices. Charles Longfellow, former district CFO, and state education official, will also discussed the importance of communicating investment choices and successes as districts wind down their last year of ESSER-funded initiatives.