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Working together and a prairie apart: Real-time collaboration provides instant results

In Blog by Tony Olson

When you oversee the budget for a school division the size of a country in Europe, being able to collaborate remotely in real time isn’t just a convenience. It’s a critical tool for success. That’s one of the reasons why MyBudgetFile is the “backbone” of the budget planning process for Prairie South School Division in Saskatchewan. Bernie Girardin is the …

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Power to the Principals: Making schools the centre of decision making

In Blog by Tony Olson

In 2007, B.C.’s Ministry of Education began a pilot project to encourage districts to look at school-based budgeting. The intent was to move districts away from top-down budgeting and instead empower schools to purchase resources based on their needs. The initial pilot included six districts:  School District No.’s 23, 47, 48, 60, 75 and 93. School District No. 23’s Director …

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Hit the books: how MyBudgetFile makes financial literacy simple

In Blog by Tony Olson

Most of us would go cross-eyed if we had to go through the reams of highly technical budget information that Christine Lee administers as the director of finance for the Lethbridge School District No. 51. Luckily, Christine Lee is not most of us. “I feel like I won the lottery the day I joined the district,” she says of the …

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Case Study: Massachusetts’ School District Saves Days of Budget Time

In Blog by Tony Olson

With about 2,200 students and 450 employees, Weston, Massachusetts’ school district is relatively small. But as Cynthia D. Mahr can attest, the challenges of keeping the Weston School District budget in order are anything but. After 10 years as the Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, Cynthia had gotten tired of trying to manage the district’s finances in spreadsheets. Attempts …

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Priority Based Budgeting: Alberta’s school districts involve communities in key decision making

In Blog by Tony Olson

Everyone wants to make sure taxpayer dollars are being well spent. But how do schools determine what it means to spend money well? Alberta Education currently operates under its “Accountability Pillar,” which measures schools’ success in achieving provincially set benchmarks to determine whether funding is being effectively spent. Every year, boards need to complete a three-year education plan as the …

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Spreading the wealth: School districts embrace decentralized budgeting

In Blog by Tony Olson

With thousands of employees and millions of dollars in infrastructure, school districts are as complex and demanding as large corporations. Add in the extra layers of scrutiny that come from governments and even parents, and it’s no surprise that district budgeting is among the most complicated of financial operations. What is surprising is that the technology most schools use is …

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What to Look for in a Cloud-based Budget Solution?

In Blog by Tony Olson

If you’ve decided you need to move away from spreadsheets, and have determined which type of solution fits your school district and budget, the next step is to evaluate specific aspects of budget planning software.  The ideal solution for your web-based budgeting and financial planning should fulfill certain criteria such as: Easy to Implement, use and own. At the core, …

Yes, I Can

In Blog by Tony Olson

Stephen Covey demonstrates the notion of empowerment with the visual representation of the Circle of Influence and the Circle of Concern.  The Circle of Concern contains all the things that affect my life, over which I have no control. The weather, my age, the fact that my boss is male/female, the fact that my husband is an invalid, the fact …

In the Palm of his Hand

In Blog by Tony Olson

To say we live in an interactive era is a gross understatement. It’s just missing the point to say that all that connection makes us unproductive when connection is, for most of our endeavors what also makes us productive. The principal mechanism of our productive labor is also the engine of our distraction. (Cathy Davidson, Now You See It) Trevor …

What’s at Stake?!

In Blog by Tony Olson

Once upon a time…a superintendent asked how his district could discourage schools and departments from spending surplus funds unwisely before the cut-off date. Some staff members suggested a higher level of monitoring, others… tighter controls, and an earlier freeze date. The business administrator asked a different question… Why not let them carry forward their surplus? This question was the source …

Believing is Seeing

In Blog by Tony Olson

My reading about the participatory universe of quantum physics has opened my eyes to the role of relationships within that universe, and especially to the notion that objective reality is a fiction. The physicist, Capra, says… “Human consciousness plays a crucial role in the process of observation, and in atomic physics, and determines to a large extent the properties of …

Dying to Get Out of School

In Blog by Tony Olson

Each bullycide is an unpalatable fact that a child has died as a result of the deliberate actions of another in an environment where the responsible adults have failed to provide a mechanism for reporting, intervening and dealing with physical and psychological violence. The excuses of ‘we didn’t know’ or ‘we didn’t understand’ are no longer valid. Bullycide, Death at …

Funding Drives Behavior

In Blog by Tony Olson

from TEO our CEO This statement is a favorite maxim of our illustrious leader! According to Tom Olson it’s probably one of the most important economic realities a person can discover. There are many ways in which this principle is manifested and for today we’ll highlight two: Number 1 If your unexpended funds are clawed back at the end of …

You Don’t Say!

In Blog by Tony Olson

We have been involved in a certain amount of learning around differing mental styles and, of course, we have worked with individuals from the entire range of personal differences as we go from one school district to another throughout the US and Canada. One of the differences that plays a significant role in communication and decision-making is whether people have …

Cloud-based Budgeting Software

In Blog by Tony Olson

Good budgeting practices are designed to minimize errors and inconsistencies, and spreadsheets are the de facto tool for budgeting.  Spreadsheets are widely used for statistical analysis; and while they are incredibly useful tools, they are practical only to a certain point.  As productivity tools, they lack the collaborative capabilities necessary in developing accurate, cohesive school district budgets. Organizations need not …

Online Budget Planning – Advantages over Traditional Models

In Blog by Tony Olson

Large companies have always reaped the benefits of purpose-built budgeting, planning and reporting applications; while mid-sized organizations have had to rely on readily-available, inexpensive and easy-to-use applications like the spreadsheet. While spreadsheets are good desktop personal productivity tools, they are not collaborative planning applications.  The good news is that there is an excellent alternative available to both models today. Software as …

The Blind Men of Hindustan

In Blog by Tony Olson

“It was six men of Hindustan To learning much inclined, who went to see the elephant, (Though all of them were blind): That each by observation might satisfy his mind.” The six blind men each encounter the elephant from a different physical perspective… tail, ear, tusk, leg, side, and trunk… and each describes the elephant respectively as like a rope, …

Pixar’s Animated Workplace

In Blog by Tony Olson

As the nature of work changes, particularly in the information industry, the traditional workplace is increasingly unsuited to the elements essential to work-life in the 21st century. The industrial model which has dictated the structure of organizations in the last century, partitioned work-life into roles, tasks, functions, and departments. This horizontal division of work was also vertically reflected in a …

Make ROOM for Solutions

In Blog by Tony Olson

A superintendent new to his district met with each school and department administrator to ask them what one thing he or she would like to see changed in the district. Several of the twenty-some administrators expressed unhappiness with a set-up whereby three principals, on a kind of standing committee, met with the superintendent once a month to represent the system …

The Gated Fields

In Blog by Tony Olson

Consider the image of a gate in the camera viewfinder. The gate is heavily padlocked and is attached to concrete pillars on either side. There is a notice posted to inform visitors of the hours and conditions for entrance. Now imagine that you retreat a few steps and look again through the viewfinder to see that the gate ends at …

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Press: MyBudgetFile Launches Blog

In News by Tony Olson

Toronto, (June 30, 2015) – MyBudgetFile, the leading web-based budgeting and planning application for K-12 school districts is staffed by a team of individuals who have served as school business officials, teachers, technicians, principals, and district administrators. The collective experience, subject matter expertise and knowledge of these individuals are a unique repository of wisdom for school districts. The company has …

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