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School Business Officials' Roles & Responsibilities

School Business Administrator Roles & Responsibilities

"Public education is a multibillion-dollar enterprise that is charged with the daunting responsibility of preparing youth for the complex world of the 21st century.  The expectations of parents, communities, policy-makers, business leaders, and the taxpayer are myriad.  The task of administering this vastly complex business of education requires professional leadership that is highly skilled and knowledgeable.  One of the most vital members of the educational leadership team is the school business official.  This person often is at the heart of administration and management of one of the largest corporate endeavors in the community. 


Without a doubt, a successful school business official must have certain knowledge and skills, whether gained through experience, formal education and/or professional development.  What these should be, however, has not remained static.  The position, responsibilities, and qualifications for the school business official have been evolving over many years and are still developing.  The concept of school business administration itself is constantly forming and reforming in much the same manner as the concept of public education."  This quote is from the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO), Professional Standards

The role of the school business official in decision-making is to keep student learning as the primary focus and to provide superintendents and boards of education with accurate information within the scope and context of school policies, practices and objectives.

School Business Administrator, Business Manager, Director of Business Services, Financial Manager, Chief Financial Officer, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services - whatever the title - this is the person within the school district who is likely to be responsible for all aspects, except for curriculum, of student's education and the operation of the district's schools.  As unique as each title, so can be the individual job descriptions.  The one common role for all is "Educator."  For convenience sake, hereafter the position will be referred to as “School Business Administrator”.

"The school business administrator is expected to model moral, legal, and ethical behavior, and always make decisions and provide input to policy makers with the best interests of the students in mind…The concept of "team" has become crucial to the successful operation of school districts.  School districts recognize coordination and involvement of all district level- organizational components are critical elements in the success of educational initiatives.  As a result, school business officials have become an integral and indispensable part of the district's cabinet-level decision-making team."  - ASBO Professional Standards

The State of Connecticut has identified 11 general areas for which the School Business Administrator is responsible and requires certification by the Department of Education for any individual responsible for six or more of the areas, which are:

  1.     Accounting and reporting

  2.     Financial planning & budgeting

  3.     Operations & maintenance of plant

  4.     Administering personnel functions

  5.     Purchasing & supply management

  6.     Data processing

  7.     Food service operations

  8.     Grant application & reporting

  9.      Insurance

10.      Collective bargaining

11.      Transportation

A School Business Administrator's knowledge and experience is required as a resource to municipal boards, community groups, and various Board of Education committees.   He or she may be called upon for participation in such events as long-range planning meetings, building committee meetings, budget hearings, board of finance meetings and Board of Alderman meetings on bond issues, crisis planning meetings, special PTA/PTO meetings, safety committee meetings, contract negotiations, capital improvement plan meetings, redistricting meetings, and fields committee meetings.

School Business Administrator's' duties have grown tremendously as legal, environmental and regulatory issues, have changed extending the responsibilities far beyond the 11 basic areas.  School Business Administrators are accountable, not only for the quantitative, but for the qualitative side of expenditures.  School Business Administrators must be partners in the education process, understanding the current educational theories, goals and terminology and moreover, that the ultimate goal of the partnership must be the development of well-rounded students, the future citizens of our towns, cities and state.  Such understanding is vital to developing and monitoring financial strategies to meet this goal.


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