As one of Allovue's District Partners, Amanda helps support districts with building budgets and allocation structures. Get to know Amanda and why she "loves budget work!"
Tell us how you found yourself at Allovue.
I spent my career prior to Allovue working in accounting and budget roles, most recently at a public university. I love budget work! It is a great use of my undergraduate degree in Psychology as it is so important and can be really emotionally challenging for folks, especially when budget decisions drive educational outcomes for students. What I found in my prior roles was that I loved figuring out ways to utilize new technology to improve existing processes. It is also really important to me to serve at an organization that makes a positive impact on the world and with values that align with my own. This is all to say, Allovue is the perfect fit!
What does a day in the life of a District Partner look like?
My days are a balance of focused work and connecting with others. I like to spend my mornings on projects that require a great deal of attention. Depending on the time of year, this might mean analyzing data to make recommendations for a district on how to build their budget and allocation structure or preparing data for reporting needs. Next, I spend time meeting with district CFOs or business officers to talk about strategic priorities and how Allovue can help. I meet often throughout the day with other Allovue team members, as well. This includes chatting with our product team about future enhancements that would further help our districts or brainstorming with the rest of the customer success team on how we can best serve our districts.
What is a customer success story you are excited to share?
I really love developing relationships with our partner districts, understanding their unique challenges, and developing creative solutions.
One district I work with was having a hard time engaging folks in the budget process. It was always a responsibility that was held at the central office level and there was a lack of understanding in how planning and spending strategically can be a tool through which educators achieve their goals. I suggested a committee approach to change management. We assembled a core team of leaders from the district and met regularly to build buy-in and collaboration. In one of our first meetings, we created a budget in Allovue for the Utopia School District. We pretended that we had a high but limited budget that we had to determine how to spend, while keeping in mind that how we budget reflects our values as individuals, educators, and school administrators. Each committee member had the opportunity to suggest budget items that were important to them, everything from lifelike babies for a program to deter teen pregnancy to moving sidewalks to create an innovative learning environment. Conversation flowed and it created a strong foundation to talk about the intricacies of the budget process, like the trade offs necessary when you choose to fund Program A but not Program B, or how to appropriately consider the opinions of the community.
More generally, there are numerous “a ha” moments regularly through many of our districts that bring me great joy! It is so fun to hear people say that they find our tool intuitive or that they can’t believe how easy it is to get answers from our tools that they could not get from their ERP. These things are huge!
What do you look forward to seeing more of at Allovue over the coming years?
I really enjoy seeing our impact across more districts and more students in different ways. It is really a privilege to work with districts to address very fundamental issues, such as principals not knowing how much they have left to spend in their budget halfway through the year. Helping solve some of those foundational issues then allows them to think more strategically, addressing concerns like how to encourage more involvement in the budget process or even how to formulaically distribute money in an equitable manner. It is very rewarding to be able to meet districts where they are and watch them grow.
What is your favorite Allovue product and why?
Budget is the tool that I wish I had when I was responsible for building budgets! I am well acquainted with the spreadsheet shuffle that so many of our districts work in before partnering with Allovue. It is so scary to be budgeting for millions of dollars in spreadsheets where one wrong formula can have massive negative consequences. Budget is intuitive and eliminates those "spreadsheet scaries." Plus, I love figuring out how to configure it just right for each district and I love the success stories that come from our districts using Budget, like when they can eliminate meetings or have folks thinking strategically about their planning process in a new way.
We know you're a runner ... what is your favorite distance to race?
I love the marathon! I really enjoy the rhythm and focus that comes along with training for marathons. I am usually training for or recovering from a marathon and planning for the next one. It really positively impacts so many areas of my life. I have to manage my time well to fit in the training, sleep, and good nutrition required to feel good while logging miles. In one of my first races, I heard someone yell, “Enjoy it now because tomorrow you’ll be back inside!” That really stuck with me! I am very thankful for every moment that I am able to be outside, enjoying fresh air, and chatting with fellow runners. I once ran 14 miles of a marathon with someone I just met chatting about school funding formulas!
What is the perfect way for you to spend your weekend?
My perfect weekend is spent running a bunch of miles before sunrise, demolishing a breakfast burrito, playing outside with my family, and falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon with a book in my lap.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allovue works with districts and state departments of education across the country to allocate, budget, and manage spending. Allovue's software suite integrates seamlessly with existing accounting systems to make sure every dollar works for every student. Allovue also provides additional services such as chart of accounts and funding formula revisions.