In the latter part of the 20th century, the financial practices of school districts began to change. Specifically, some of these developments included: new accounting and budgeting rules along with stringent accountability demands, acknowledgment of the economic importance of education to people and society, which generated measures of effectiveness and efficiency from the national to the local level, legal directives from state legislatures and courts that placed new regulations on the distribution of educational money, and implementation of new standards for programs to prepare and license school administrators. Indeed, these and other changes opened the 21st century to a new and shifting perspective on the financing of public schools and new financial skills for school leaders. In response to these emerging rules, legal directives, standards, and other operating expectations, I developed a conceptual framework over a 12-year period while teaching a school finance course to aspiring school administrators. At the outset, I set a course parameter that future school administrators, as well as the professors who teach a school finance course, although needing a certain fluency with the process, could not be expected to become accountants. This book is a product of that work. AUTHOR'S CONCEPTUAL AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Conceptual Framework.School finance, as presented in this book, is conceptually perceived and involves the following four interrelated components or features: The management structure that is unique to education and varies from setting to setting, such as the differences between small rural and large urban school districts. The programs, services, and activities of school districts that are both at the heart of education and assigned to school leaders located in the management structure. The financial budget plan prepared for the programs, services, and activities. The financial framework that houses the accounting and budgeting systems that, in turn, are used to administer the financial budget plan. To complete the circle, this financial framework must operate within the management structure and not outside of it. Theoretical Framework.With these interrelated components in mind, a basic premise for the book is that adequate financial resources for public education are tied to the economic vitality of the country and a community, and vice versa. To maximize the economic benefit gained from the scarce resources made available to a school district, school leaders must merge financial and strategic plans into one plan, which is referred to in this book as astrategic financial plan.School leaders must then administer the plan to achieve its intended ends. To attain the full potential offered by a strategic financial plan, school districts must incorporate site-based units into the process. Once strategic financial plans are developed and administered by all schools, programs, services, and activities within a district, the district will be able to strive to meet the financial needs at the operational level. In other words, the needs of the unit define the budget and not vice versa. Therefore, budget planning and management becomes the responsibility of site-based units and not the sole responsibility of a business office. To meet this expectation, school leaders must understand the accounting and budgeting systems and process, the financial framework mandated by the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and the reports generated by the systems. ALIGNMENT WITH ACCREDITATION AND LICENSURE STANDARDS An important feature of this book is its alignment with accreditation standards set for programs in education administration by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) published in January 2002 by the National Policy BoarC. William Garner is the author of 'Education Finance for School Leaders: Strategic Planning and Administration', published 2003 under ISBN 9780130978622 and ISBN 0130978620.