Fiscal Year Spend Down: 3 Ways to Use It Before You Lose It

Feb 27, 2024
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As the clock ticks down on state education budgets, education officials often encourage teachers and administrators to use funds before they disappear. While no two states have quite the same timeline for this end-of-year spend, a large spike occurs in the spring months. With the list of unique student needs only growing and a “use it or lose it” budget philosophy, below are three ideas to consider before those remaining dollars dry up.

1. Professional Development

Teachers know better than anyone that learning never ends—refining their practice is an ongoing process. As the school year winds down, it’s a perfect time to provide teachers with an opportunity to step out of their routine for professional development. Research shows that an inspiring and informed teacher is the most important school-related factor influencing student achievement, so funding the training and support of both new and experienced educators is vital.

Even if your budget doesn’t cover national professional development conferences, there are still plenty of ways to provide networking and learning for your educators during this time of year. An online course or webinar purchase is an easy way to invest funds in professional development for your staff and allows everyone to complete the training on their own time, rather than adding additional meetings to an already busy end-of-year schedule.

The NEA’s guide for Great Teaching & Learning is a great resource for professional development opportunities.

2. Invest in Learning Technology

The effective use of digital learning tools in classrooms can increase student engagement, help teachers improve their lesson plans, and facilitate personalized learning. It also helps students build essential 21st-century skills. If your fiscal year budget allows it, consider one of Edmentum’s high-quality virtual learning programs.

Study Island is a good example. The act of retrieving information previously learned to answer a question (also known as practice testing) has proven to be one of the most effective learning techniques. Our kindergarten through 12th grade practice and classroom assessment program offers engaging and flexible practice options across math, ELA, science, and social studies. The program has over 600,000 unique items, including 10,000 technology-enhanced items to ensure that you have a robust pool of standards-aligned questions written specifically for your state, grade level, and desired subject. You can also identify opportunity areas so student focus their time on those most-needed skills, as well as pull individual reports to set and track customized learning goals.

3. Think Summer School

Summer school programs can offer students extra academic, enrichment, and social-emotional benefits. However, many districts have limited budgets for these programs. To use the federal, state, and local dollars that are available for summer learning, such as Title I, Perkins V, public/private grants, or left-over ESSER money, districts should use their funding by the end of the year. This can help them reach more students who need summer support, especially those from underserved and marginalized communities. It can also prevent them from losing or returning unused funds, which could affect their future allocations.

If your plan is to use these funds to support summer sessions, check out our Summer Planning & Success Toolkit. It's packed with useful resources, blogs, and worksheets that are tailored to help you achieve your specific summer goals.

Edmentum's Federal Funding Crosswalk assists state and local education agencies by providing detailed information on federal funding streams and their allowable uses, helping them align their priorities accordingly. For more insights, guides, and resources, explore our Federal Funding Toolkit.

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