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A solid funding plan is critical to your master plan. One that is systematically developed and well executed means asking for less money less often. At this stage of the facility planning process, the master plan has identified capital improvements that are needed over the next several years. This includes reasonable cost estimates for any new buildings or additions as well as improvements needed at existing facilities.

Your formal capital budget, including allowance for contingencies, can’t be finalized until design documents are prepared and construction bids are received. These should be prepared by an experienced architectural or engineering firm.

 Your formal budget is what you’ll present to the Board of Education, and most likely to voters. Staying within budget is critical to gaining and retaining public trust since nearly all capital outlay funding is from state and local taxes. Districts must be mindful of two major constraints on local funding: bonding regulations/limits and voter tolerance.

“Funding,” Chapter 5 of my book, The Essential Guide to School Facility Planning: Using a Strategic Process to Save Time and Money, discusses in detail the advantages and disadvantages of potential funding sources which include:

  •  General Obligation Bonds
  • Bond Refundings
  • Certificates of Participation
  • Additional General Fund Mill Levy
  • Lease Purchase Agreements
  • Impact Fees
  • Sales and/or Use Tax
  • Excise Tax
  • Sale of Surplus Property

After all options are considered, it’s likely that funds will eventually come from more than one financial resource. You’ll find the detailed insight and case-in-point examples in Chapter 5 invaluable to the highly critical process of identifying sources and pursuing funding for your district’s capital improvements.

Read a real-world Funding Case Study.

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