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GFOA Newsletter
February 9, 2017
School District of Fort Atkinson Works to Improve Its Budget Process

The School District of Fort Atkinson in Wisconsin recently invited GFOA staff to present to the district’s senior leadership team the Best Practices in School Budgeting, a framework for an improved budget process. Fort Atkinson is part of the GFOA’s Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting, an early adopter group of more than 70 districts from across the U.S. that are working to improve their budget processes. The best practices advocate for improved collaboration between finance and academic leaders and the advancement of student outcomes through more effective use of resources.

GFOA staff facilitated the day-long session that focused on a comprehensive overview of the framework and a more intensive discussion of cost-effectiveness concepts, including academic return on investment. Fort Atkinson will use this discussion to help develop district-wide budget principles that will set baseline expectations for its budget process, centered on the district’s core values.

GFOA has several upcoming events for hands-on, in-person sessions led by GFOA staff and other districts involved in implementing the framework, including:

  • School Budgeting Best Practices, March 9 to 10, in Chicago, Illinois – a two day training on the full framework presented in the best practices in school budgeting.
  • Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting, May 19, in Denver, Colorado – a preconference session featuring leaders in education finance and districts implementing the Best Practices in School Budgeting framework.
Read More.
Association News
Best Practices, Networking, and More!
With over 3,200 attendees registered, connect with your peers in more than 70 sessions and networking opportunities in one of “America’s Favorite Cities,”   according to Travel + Leisure’s annual reader’s choice survey  during GFOA’s 111th Annual Conference, May 21−24, in Denver. Click here for details about how to apply for a first-time annual conference attendee scholarship.

If you’re already registered to attend the conference, click here for information about guest registration, hotel reservations, travel discounts, and GFOA’s finale event. For questions about the Annual Conference, contact GFOA. 

See you in Denver soon!
Read More.
Learn About Public-Private Partnerships Hands On

Governments from across the United States and Canada have utilized public-private partnerships (P3) to help finance critical infrastructure improvement projects. In 2004, voters approved a referendum for the Regional Transportation District (RTD) of Denver’s FasTracks multi-modal transit expansion program. This project expanded transportation options to citizens of Denver’s metropolitan area, including the recent light commuter rail expansion to Denver International Airport, and provided a successful example of a P3 agreement to operate and maintain the system.

In GFOA’s preconference seminar, FasTracks Project Tour and Lessons Learned, Friday, May 19, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, at the Colorado Convention Center, speakers will discuss some of the project’s successes and lessons learned in the areas of project planning, financing, and ongoing monitoring. In addition, participants will be taken on a guided tour of the project’s facilities to get a behind-the-scenes perspective and witness RTD’s FasTracks program in operation.

Register for this seminar and GFOA’s other preconference seminars here. Earn 8 CPE credits with your participation.

Lunch and transportation for the facility tour is included as part of the registration fee. Specific locations on the tour stop will be announced at a later time. This session is limited to the first 100 registrants.

Read More.
Enhance Your Budgeting Skills

Learn essential elements of public-sector budgeting, including goal setting, program development, revenue and expense analysis, position budgeting, and capital budgeting during GFOA’s Budget Analyst Training Academy, April 25–28, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach, California. Earn 30 CPE credits with your participation.

Register today! If you have any questions about the training, contact GFOA
Read More.
News Links
Fed’s Longer-Run Economic Projections Show Declines

Over the past few years, the Federal Open Market Committee’s longer-run projections for economic growth, unemployment, and the federal funds rate have fallen quite dramatically, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The declines are not unprecedented in magnitude, but the projections have reached historical lows. 

Read More.
Pismo Beach Learns How to Get the Most from Social Media

Governments face any number of challenges in establishing a social media presence, especially smaller cities, which may not have the manpower to face unexpected time and managerial demands. But Pismo Beach, California—with fewer than 10,000 citizens—decided that the prospective of communicating more effectively with citizens and being able to better monitor public opinion was worth the effort. Among the many lessons the city learned:

  • Dedicate a team, create guidelines, and let the public know what you’re doing.
  • Get important information out there—regular postings about event content such as holiday celebrations, and community activities is an effective way to build a social media audience.
  • Keep it simple, and make sure it’s mobile—nearly half of social media users access it primarily through smartphones. 
Read More.
Employees Shape Strategy at the New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is an enormous organization with very specific needs, but its challenges and its strategy for helping initiate change apply to any organization that wants to be a “nimble player” and “provide hyper-local services tailored to the diverse needs of its patrons while also upholding a consistent and high standard of service,” according to the Harvard Business Review.

In spring  2014, the library asked any staff member at any level of the organization to engage in strategic conversations with senior leaders and take a lead role in designing, testing, and advocating solutions. “Involving staff in conceiving, designing, and implementing the change would result in a course of action that was more fit-to-purpose and more likely to be well executed,” the article explained.

Library officials used a technique known as “innovation communities” to structure efficient and effective strategic conversations, and the library achieved some impressive outcomes. In addition, “staff was energized by the opportunity to shape how the library worked. As a core team member put it, ‘We entered the process with the perspective of employees and came out with the perspective of leaders.’” 

Read More.
Potentially Overlooked Sources for Continuing Development

Leaders should constantly look for ways to further their education in a variety of areas.

The Internet provides any number of free courses, and Entrepreneur points out some sources you might not have considered:

  • YouTube videos. It’s not all cat videos – you can also find tutorials on just about anything, as well as subscribing to specific channels like those hosted by Bloomberg Business and Stanford Graduate School of Business. YouTube is also a valuable resource for learning how to use software.
  • ALISON. This site offers free, self-paced courses with assessments helping students gauge what they’ve learned. At completion, students can download a learner record that shows all of the courses they’ve passed.
  • Coursera. You’ll find courses from universities and colleges. Lectures and non-graded materials are free, with financial aid available for courses that come with graded assignments and certificates.
  • Udemy. This site bills itself as an online learning marketplace, with more than 40,000 courses. Not all of the courses are free, but a search of free courses on the site reveals pages of free courses on topics such as web design, iOS programming, and SEO. For personal development, Udemy has free courses on painting, photography, goal setting, and more.
  • edX. “With courses from Harvard University, MIT, The University of California Berkeley, and other universities, edX is the only leading Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider that is both nonprofit and open source.”
  • MIT OpenCourseWare. This site puts MIT courses online, with free lecture notes, videos, and exams.
  • FutureLearn. You can find courses and a community of learners here.
  • 8. iTunes. If you use an Apple device, you can download courses through iTunes, browsing through this list of free courses. 
Read More.
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Editor: Marcy Boggs  |  Executive Director/CEO: Jeffrey Esser

The GFOA Newsletter (ISSN 1051-6964) is published weekly by
the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
Correspondence regarding editorial and/or business matters should be sent to
GFOA, 203 N. LaSalle St., Suite 2700, Chicago, IL 60601-1210. Phone - 312/977-9700 FAX - 312/977-4806.


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