What is a School Business Manager?

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  • Written By: Meghan Perry
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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A school business manager, also known as a bursar, is often in charge of the day-to-day financial operations of a school. There are usually a wide variety of duties a school business manager must perform, but the amount of responsibility depends on the size of the educational institution. School business managers often work in an administration office that serves an entire school district, but they could also work in a postsecondary institution.

The main duty of a school business manager is to ensure that the daily operations of the school are running as efficiently as possible. They must make sure the school is following all laws — local, federal, and state — and, therefore, must have knowledge of those laws. They also make many, if not all, of the financial decisions for the school and are often required to submit budgets to the governing body of the school. This duty requires a strong knowledge of accounting, and many schools require that their school business managers have at least three years of accounting experience.


Aside from accounting experience, educational requirements vary depending on the type of school one is working at, as well as the size and resources of the school. Most require at least a bachelor's degree, often in accounting or business. Schools face unique challenges, so some background in education is helpful and, depending on the school, may be required. One option is to get a master's or doctoral degree in education administration; some schools require this extent of knowledge before they will hire someone as a school business manager.

Some of the more specific duties a school business manager may undertake include running the Human Resources department in the school, taking care of payroll, creating and negotiating labor contracts with employees, purchasing, and overseeing transportation. These duties are in addition to preparing the budget for the school and keeping up with all of the pertinent laws. A school business manager is also often in charge of preparing the annual report for the governing body.

The pay range varies for a school business manager, and much depends on the extent of his educational background. Other factors that determine the salary of a school business manager include the location and size of the school. The larger the school, the higher the pay is likely to be. In addition, suburban schools generally pay more for a business manager than do rural schools.


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