Managing a school budget is a challenging and often thankless job when difficult decisions need to be made. But it’s one of the most important jobs within a school — ensuring students have the teachers, staff, and supplies they need is crucial to their education. Making staffing cuts can be one of the most undesirable parts of the job, so we’ve compiled a few tips to help make it a bit easier.

Start early on: When it comes time to make staffing cuts as needed, it’s always best to do so as early as possible. So if the budget calls for cutting back on staff, it’s a good idea to do so in the spring. This way, teachers and administrators don’t get their hopes up only to find out they’re out of a job just before school starts in the fall. While making cuts is never easy, it can be beneficial to be conservative with budgeting in the spring so there is less cutting that needs to be done in the fall.

Focus on the kids: Budgeting is often focused around money, which makes sense. But it’s important to not only focus on a financially stable school system but to also focus on what’s best for the students. It can seem easy to simply make cuts where needed but how does that affect the kids? Starting with thinking about what’s best for the students and working towards budget cuts from there can not only make budgeting easier, but it can ensure the students are getting what they need to succeed.

Be flexible: Staffing to fit inside budget plans is a difficult task, which is why it helps to be flexible. Schools may want to consider working with school staffing agencies to fill positions at a lower expense. There are a lot of positions that need to be filled within schools — with half of the public school workforce consisting of teachers and the other 50% being other staff like guidance counselors, nurses, and speech therapists, it can be challenging to fill positions and not go over budget. Exploring different educational staffing possibilities, like outsourcing certain positions, can help schools manage staffing to fit inside budget plans.

Hopefully, these tips will help make this challenging job a bit more untroubled. Staffing to fit inside budget plans is not easy, but with these tips, it won’t be impossible.