Appraisal of budgetary practices in grant-aided secondary schools in north central, nigeria.

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This study was designed to appraise budgetary practices in grant-aided
secondary schools in North Central, Nigeria. Specifically the study sought to;
find out the extent procedures of budget preparation by the principals and the
bursars complies with school budget guidelines, determine the extent budget
estimates of principals are prepared in accordance with budget guidelines,
ascertain the extent budgetary provisions by principals are in accordance with
budget guidelines among others. Five research questions and four null
hypotheses guided the study.

Descriptive survey design was employed. A 43- item questionnaire was administered to 568 respondents, composing 284 principals and 284 bursars drawn from 284 grant-aided secondary schools.Documentary evidences were used in order to obtain qualitative information on the responses of the subjects. Mean scores and standard deviations were used to answer research questions while the z-test statistic was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 Alpha levels. The study found among other ones that Principals’ budgetary estimates to a great extent follow laid down budget

However principals and bursars disagreed on the proposition that no expenditure may be incurred outside estimates except on the authority of a duly signed warrant. The procedures used for budget preparation by principals and bursars to a great extent comply with budget guidelines. The adequacy of budgetary provisions by the principals to a great extent conform with the laid  down school budget blue prints, even though Board of Governors do not readily approve alternative sources of funds sought for by principals.

Principals to a little extent use formalized monitoring strategies to ensure compliance with budget provisions by the heads of departments. Factors that inhibit principals’ compliance with budget guidelines include; delay in budget approval by the Ministry of Education and Schools Board, Principals neglect the opinions of their subordinates in budget preparation, Principals do not make financial reports available to heads of departments and heads of units after monitoring visit for   their future guide, officers who did not adhere to budget guidelines were not queried.

The inability of state governments to subsidize the cost of secondary
education affects budgetary practices of principals. Based on the findings and
implications of the study therein, the following recommendations are made;
Principals and bursars of secondary schools should be trained regularly on how to adhere and comply strictly with the budget guidelines. Principals are to monitor budgetary processes in their schools by setting up budget monitoring committee among the members of the staff. The state Boards should ensure that warrant of expenditure is issued to the principals at the beginning of every session early enough to avoid financial discrepancies that could affect teaching and leaning in grant-aided secondary schools.

Background of the Study
The importance of effective budgetary practices at all levels of economy has
for long been the major concern of many educationists, economists and
politicians. This is because effective budgetary practices reflect the focus of
administrators’ expenditure and revenue for major development in any financial year. Aguba (2009) believed that a budget is a financial blue print for the operation of organization, including the school system, for the fiscal year. In consonance with this, Ogbonnaya (2005) defined a budget as the financial statement of the proposed expenditure and expected revenue of the government, public corporations, or educational institutions for a particular period of time.

Budget, therefore is an itemized summary of estimated or intended
expenditures for a given period along with proposals for financing organizational programmes necessary for the attainment of pre-determined objectives. Budget is expected to control wastage and extravagant spending in grant-aided
secondary schools.

School budget is an established financial standard needed to consciously
guide the activities of a school administrator towards the attainment of the aims and objectives of the school in a given fiscal year (Ayodele, 2006). This position is in line with the United States General Accounting office report in 1998 when it asserted that school budgeting had historically been the process of balancing expenditure with revenue to effect changes in spending, a process policy makers

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