Review Process

After your Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) or the Pathway to the MBA application is received, the application materials are sent to a professional review team. The review process takes approximately 3–5 months to complete.

Who Reviews My Submission?

Your application materials are reviewed by a team of professional accountants and government auditors 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 or Pathway to the MBA criteria.
 
Conditionally Awarded – Only school districts 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, the submission was not as strong as the previous year’s, or there was sufficient deviation from the MBA or Pathway to the MBA criteria. Conditional award status is noted internally only—your district’s name is included in the final MBA award list posted on our website and in press releases.
 
Denied – Your district may be denied if many of the required MBA or Pathway to the MBA criteria have not been met, the financial data presented are not accurate, or there is conflicting financial data.
 
If a first-time applicant is denied the award, we will waive the MBA or the Pathway to the MBA application fee for the next year. Complying with the review team’s comments is essential to be considered for the award the following year.

Award Packets

All final MBA and Pathway to the MBA award packets, including review comments, are emailed to the submitting official.

MBA
Award and conditional award packets include

  • Award letter
  • Press release
  • Final comments
  • Award certificate
  • Press release suggestions
The year plate is mailed to the submitting official to be attached to the district’s perpetual plaque.

If a school district is denied the award, the following is mailed to the submitting official:

  • Participation letter
  • Final comments
  • Participation certificate
  • The Standards of Excellence in Budget Presentation book
 
Pathway to the MBA
Award and conditional award packets include

  • Award letter
  • Press release
  • Final comments
  • Award certificate
  • Press release suggestions
The crystal Pathway to the MBA award is mailed to the submitting official.
 
If a school district is denied the award, the following is mailed to the submitting official:

  • Participation letter
  • Final comments
  • Participation certificate
  • The Standards of Excellence in Budget Presentation book

MBA and Pathway to the MBA Awards

School districts receiving the MBA for the first time will receive the prestigious MBA perpetual plaque. The plaque is mailed to the awarded school district with the first year plate already attached. The year plate is mailed for the next 11 years the district receives the award. When the district has received the award for 13 years, a new perpetual plaque will be provided.
 
School districts receiving the Pathway to the MBA will receive a beautiful engraved crystal award. The award is mailed to the submitting official.

Appeals Process

Only school districts that are denied an MBA award may request an appeal. There is no appeals process for the Pathway to the MBA.
 
A submitting official must make a request for an appeal in writing within 30 days of receiving the denial packet. 
 
The appeal is reviewed by the MBA Appeals Committee, comprised of three members of the MBA Advisory Committee. The original review team does not participate in the appeals process. The MBA Appeals 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 appeals process.
  • The district’s MBA budget document and supporting documentation as well as the original review team’s final comments are forwarded to the MBA Appeals Committee.
  • The MBA Appeals Committee reviews the documentation and writes its response.
  • The committee’s final decision letter is sent to the school district.