Every member of a charter school governing board needs to understand that the overall success or failure of their school rests with that board. In its Standards for Effective Charter School Governance, Charter Board Partners asserts with Standard #5 that strong boards must raise and use resources wisely. In support of this principle, boards have a contractual and fiduciary responsibility to make key decisions about school leadership, budget, governance, and compliance that fulfill the promises outlined in the school’s charter. Approving the budget is a key lever that the board must effectively govern the school. Board members have the opportunity make decisions and allocate funds in ways that support the mission of the school. For boards to do this effectively, they must:
Ensure that all members of the board understand the school’s finances by providing the necessary training;
Review financial data regularly and carefully, using it to make sound decisions that protect the school’s short- and long-term sustainability;
Approve a budget each year that allocates resources strategically and aligns with the school’s student performance goals; and
Understand the school’s student recruitment and enrollment strategy, a major determinant of the school’s total revenue.