Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version



LaCost, B. Y., O'Connell, P. A., & Grady, M. L., et al. Resource allocation. In Principals for our Changing Schools; The Knowledge and Skill Base, ed. Scott D. Thomson (Fairfax, VA: National Policy Board for Educational Administration, 1993), pp. 13.1–13.22.


Copyright ©1993 National Policy Board for Educational Administration


Resources are available means of supply or support that assist in accomplishing goals and meeting needs. Caldwell and Spinks (1986) define resources as culture and knowledge; however, most experts agree with Guthrie, Garms, and Pierce (1988), who define resources as "time, personnel, and materials ... as well as money" (p. 216). Thomas (1980) suggests that student and parent time is a "nonpurchased resource" that school leaders interested in effective and efficient allocation should consider. Rossmiller (1983) distinguishes between resource inputs and resource applications. Inputs, he says, are the available human and material resources, whereas applications are the "alternative ways resource inputs are mixed to achieve students' educational goals" (p. 174).

Allocation is apportionment for a specific purpose or to particular persons or things. It also is an earmarking of resources for distribution.

According to Guthrie et al. (1988), resource allocation is embodied in a budget, which "represents a plan for the direction of an organization's total discretionary resources ... " (p. 216) and is de-'termined through a budgeting process. This process is cyclical and ' includes planning, budgeting, and evaluation, all of which take place within a given time period.

Caldwell and Spinks (1986) link policy-making to resource allocation; Westbrook (1988) links resource allocation to the political process. Hoyle, English, and Steffy (1990) view resource allocation as a twofold process, which examines "the fundamental nature of the enterprise," then discovers and implements "the most effective processes that will realize these purposes" (p. 205). Thus, resource allocation:

• is a cyclical series of actions or operations that cover a specified time period;

• is anchored to a budget document but encompasses more than dollars; and

• requires leadership to administer the process appropriately, efficiently, and effectlvelyin the learning environment.