After your Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) or Pathway to the MBA application is received, the review process takes approximately 3–6 months to complete.

Who Reviews My Submission?

Your application materials are reviewed by school business professionals who have received additional MBA criteria-specific training from ASBO International. As part of the review, comments are provided to be used in preparation of subsequent budget submissions. The same review team does not review your submission each year; subsequent years’ documents are sent to different reviewers.

Award Categories

Awarded – The MBA or Pathway to the MBA is awarded when the review team concurs the budget documentation has met or exceeded the MBA criteria.

Conditionally Awarded – Only school systems that applied for the MBA or Pathway to the MBA the previous year may receive a conditional award. A conditional award is given when the review team notes that a number of the previous year’s review comments were not answered, or there was sufficient deviation from the MBA criteria. The district’s name is included in the final award lists posted on our website and in press releases. Only the award letter and the reviewer comments note the conditional award status.

Denied – Your school system may be denied if many of the required MBA criteria have not been met, the financial data presented are not accurate, or there is conflicting financial data. Complying with the review team’s comments from the previous year is essential to be considered for the award the following year.

If a district does not receive the award, we will waive the MBA or the Pathway to the MBA application fee for the next year.

Awarded Districts Receive

  • Comprehensive review team comments about your budget.
  • An award certificate and letter.
  • A prestigious perpetual plaque (MBA only).
  • An elegant crystal award (Pathway to the MBA only).
  • A press release to share with the community.

A district not awarded receives:

  • Comprehensive review team comments about your budget.
  • A letter of accomplishment.

Appeal Process

Only school districts that are denied an MBA award may request an appeal. There is no appeal process for the Pathway to the MBA.

A submitting official must submit a request for an appeal in writing within 30 days of receiving the denial packet.

The appeal is reviewed by the MBA Appeal Committee, comprised of three members of the MBA Advisory Committee. The original review team does not participate in the appeal process. The MBA Appeal Committee has 60 days to review the documentation and write its final decision. The decision of the MBA Appeals Committee is final.

After receiving a school district’s request for appeal:

  • A response letter is sent to the district outlining the appeal process.
  • The district’s budget document and supporting documentation as well as the original review team’s final comments are forwarded to the MBA Appeal Committee.
  • The MBA Appeal Committee reviews the documentation and writes its response.
  • The committee’s decision letter is sent to the school district.