School Manager Interview

Interview of School Business Manager or Chief Financial Officer
For this key assignment you are asked to:
1) identify and interview the person or persons in a K-12 school (yours or one you are familiar with)
responsible for the effective implementation of school budgeting and fiscal management
2) write a critical analysis paper (12 pages max – it can be less) based on that interview.
Part 1: Interview – In most schools, your interview will be with the Business Manager (or similar title). In
smaller schools, this could also include the superintendent who works closely with the business
manager. In that case, you may want to visit with both. Schedule an interview time with the person(s) you
identify to gain their perspective on the learning objectives presented in this course.

Consider the major topics presented throughout this course and use the themes outlined below to guide
your questions and discussion. Guiding questions have been provided to help frame your interview but
they are not the only things you can ask. Think about things from the course that you are still unsure of
or have your own questions about and be sure to ask them also.

Guiding Questions:

• what functions are carried out by the Business Manager or the office they oversee?
• how/when is the budget built for each fiscal year? who is responsible?
• what budgeting model is used?
• who is responsible for approving the budget?
• who is responsible for oversight of the budget?
• what is the role of principals in the budget process?
• what are the major sources of school revenue and percentage each contributes?
• what school funds in the district are supported by a local mill levy and how many mills is each?
(general, building, sinking and interest, other?)
• what is the total mill levy of the district
• what are the major expenditure fund categories of the district and what school functions do
each support
• how is budget data collected and analyzed?
• how are expenditures monitored?
• How does the district assess equity in spending?
• Are there any areas of over-spending or under-spending? What are the consequences of
addressing (or not addressing) this over-spending or underspending?
Part 2) Writing – After your interview, write a critical analysis paper based on this interview and the
content presented in this course using the guidance below and the rubric provided.
Introduction: Introduce your paper with background information on your school, persons interviewed
and the organization and content to be presented in the body of your paper.
Body: Organize the body of your paper by the themes of:
1) Budget Oversight
2) Sources of Revenue

3) Local Budgeting Practices
4) Current fiscal issues, trends, and challenges facing the district
5) Other themes that you may identify as important in the course of your interview.
Conclusion: Conclude your paper with a summary of your findings from the interview along with your
personal reflection and analysis.

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