Category Archives: Effective Resource Use/Strategic Budgeting

Picus & Odden back in Wyoming

Allan Odden and Lawrence Picus have been retained by the Wyoming Legislative Service Office to work with the Legislature’s Select Committee on School Finance Recalibration to update the cost basis of all the elements of the state’s school finance formula. The current funding formula was based on an adequacy study the pair conducted for the state in 2005 and updated five years later during the state’s 2010 recalibration effort.

The work for the 2015 recalibration project draws from an Odden and Picus authored “Desk Audit” of the state’s school finance system that recommended recalibration of many components of the funding model. Odden and Picus met with the Committee on May 21 and 22 in Casper, Wyoming to launch this year’s recalibration effort.

Superintendent Receives Award for Budgeting in Evidence-Based Ways

Randy Poe, Superintendent of Boone County, Kentucky recently was recognized as the 2015 F.L. Dupree Outstanding Superintendent of the Year Award by the Kentucky School Board Association. Poe stated that Boone County has been very successful because it has been forced to look to evidence based finance to finance it operations and align everything to the instructional core.

The book on “Improving Student Learning When Budgets are Tight” is a valuable resource for all districts whether budgets are tight or not. It has been the major resource for our budget committee to establish priorities over time utilizing it as a guide.

Our district is funded $20 million less than the average school district in Kentucky based on per pupil spending for our size but our focus on the right priorities such as instructional coaches allows us to continue to improve academic gains.

Based on School Match.com we are in the lowest 10% for funding in the Nation but score in the top 60% in the Nation on academic performance. We truly believe we are that successful because of the Evidence-Based approach to school finance.

North Dakota Final Report

On June 2, 2014, Picus Odden and Associates’ Principal Partner Allan Odden met with the Interim Education Funding Committee of the North Dakota Legislature to present the final report on the recalibration of North Dakota’s funding formula.

Of many findings in the report, the recommendations include increasing the Foundation Per Student number (the base adequacy level) from $8,810 to $9,247 and increasing the at-risk student weight, to provide extra help to struggling students from poverty and ELL backgrounds, from 0.05 to 0.20 plus a summer school weight of 0.6.

Resources for Strategic Budgeting

We discuss “strategic budgeting” more in two books:

In addition, our 2011 and 2012 articles in professional publications further discuss these issues:


Traditional Use of Education Dollars

An earlier version of the findings about the use of the education dollar can be found in our 1995 Phi  Delta Kappan article that concluded that the traditional way education dollars are spent produce neither fiscal smoking guns nor fiscal academy awards .  This article drew on several years of study when the principals in our firm directed a national school finance center.  The 1995 annual yearbook of the Association for Finance and Policy summarized what we and others discovered about how education dollars are traditionally used.