Budget and Financial Responsibility

Budget and Financial Responsibility

The idea of transparency and thoroughness in revealing budget and financial accountability is not new in the public sector. This entails the public having detailed information about how government agencies and departments use public resources. During the medieval period the politics of Aristotle suggested that “…to protect the Treasury from being defrauded, let all money be issued openly in front of the whole city, and let copies of the accounts be deposited in various wards,” (Brun-Martos, & Lapsley, 2017). Also, the Declaration of the Right of Man and the Citizen was an essential document during the 1789 French revolution that recognized the rights of citizens in knowing how public funds are used as well as its account. New York State Education Department (NYSED) is one of a government organization that has been trying to reveal its financial accountability to the community (German, 2015). NYSED is a department of the New York State Government which has a responsibility of supervising all the public schools in New York. Through its website and other means of communication, NYSED often reveals the number of fiscal activities and funds used with transparency and accountability between schools and tax payers.

In 2017, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the D- Westchester County legislation that involves the provision of more financial transparency, especially in school districts. The law enabled every school district in New York to disclose information about their reserved funds on their websites, along with any multiyear fiscal plans and the annual budgets (German, 2015). The law was also adopted by the board of education and their trustees. In case of any additional data concerning external audits, the school districts make them available in every district website. The new law ensured that the best practices are followed by each district to enabling the transparency of finance and budget.

It is the right of every New Yorker to know how their schools are spending their tax dollar. NYSED ensures that the public is given accessible transparency into the financial operations of their school system and how funds are being allocated to the school trustees (Brun-Martos, & Lapsley, 2017). The audits of local school districts help in highlighting the need for improved accountability and transparency, especially during the preparation of budgets and development of long-term financial plans. NYSED is entitled to update every school district reserve funds, current year budgets, and multi-year financial plans to the public. This enables districts to be more accountable and empowers citizens to make informed decisions on regarding school budget and spending.

NYSED has several forthcoming public projects that need to be completed and funded by the end of 2019. Foundation Aid enacted aims to provide the largest unrestricted aid category in supporting the expenditures of public school districts. It represents about 68% of the total state Aid received statewide (Christensen, Richardson & Hetherington, 2017). NYSED will ensure that every school district that receives Community Schools Aid sets aside an amount set forth to complete Budget. The main purpose of Foundation Aid is to transform school buildings into community hubs for delivering school-linked academic, counseling, mental and other services to students and community in general. Public Excess Cost Aid has also been set aside funds to aid the Foundation of Aid in ensuring that school districts are meeting the federal maintenance. The national government will also facilitate more funds to aid the project.

Transportation Aid for pupils is another NYSED forthcoming project based on every district approved transportation for noncapital expenditures. This aims at transporting all the pupils to and from schools, occupational programs in other districts and trips. They include the expenditures operating the district-owned buses as well as public service vehicles (Christensen, Richardson & Hetherington, 2017). To ensure that the Department raises enough revenue to aid this project, transportation contracts should be filled by every school district within 120 days. The contract expenditures of the revenue stipulated in the contract with reasonable costs will be allowed for aid purposes.

NYSED aims to inculcate instructional computer hardware and technology in schools through the Aids for Educational Technology. The estimated aid will cost the state government about 37.8 million dollars with 2018 and 2019 (German, 2015). School districts are eligible for the aid by purchasing or leasing micro and minicomputer equipment meant for instructions. About 20% o the districts minimum allocation will be for staff development and hardware repair on computer use. To ensure this, districts have flexibility in claiming for expenditures on software, textbooks, and hardware.

NYSED is accountable to the citizenry when using public funding through New York’s ESSA plan, and Federal Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The board of regents focuses on increasing equity to every student in New York. Through the ESSA plan, multiple strategies have been included to improve educational equity in all the districts (Christensen, Richardson & Hetherington, 2017). New York’s ESSA plan has been designed to help in improving students’ equity outcomes through the identification of districts and students in need of additional support. One of the main accountability indicators is through student achievement in mathematics, social studies, English language arts, and science. Growth in 4 to 6 graduation rates per year as well as students readiness for colleges are useful in indicating how NYSED is accountable for its funding.

In conclusion, the need for transparency and accountability of funding in public sectors is important to enabling efficiency, long-term sustainability, and trust from the public. As a state department in New York, NYSED ensures transparency by disclosing information about their reserved funds, any multiyear fiscal plans and their annual budgets on their websites. Fiscal transparency appeals not only to New York citizens but also to the rest of the world and is regarded to have both instrumental and intrinsic value. NYSED has several upcoming projects, including the Foundation Aid, Transportation Aid, and Aids for Educational Technology. With each project, several measures have been put in place to ensure that there is enough revenue. NYSED is also accountable for its public funding through New York’s ESSA plan and ESSA. Despite diverse expectations from the public, the impact of financial transparency and accountability can bring improvements in the public sectors. Thus, it should be embraced.













Bearfield, D. A., & Bowman, A. O. M. (2017). Can you find it on the web? An assessment of municipal e-government transparency. The American Review of Public Administration47(2), 172-188.

Christensen, J. J., Richardson, K., & Hetherington, S. (2017). New York State partnerships in employment. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation47(3), 351-363.

German, Kimberly R. “A Financial Analysis of Buffalo Charter Schools: Are Charter Schools Getting Their Fair Share of Public Funds?.” (2015).


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