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Online classes

Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2017/2018

PADM 325: Public Financial Resources Management

Course Description

Exposes students to the budgetary process for public-sector managers with a focus on political and legal constraints on these budgets, cash and risk management, budgetary forecasting, and more.

Prerequisite: MGMT/POSC/PADM 311

Proctored Exams: Midterm and Final

Syllabus Contents



  • Menifield, Charles. (2013). The Basics of Public Budgeting and Financial Management: A Handbook for Academics and Practitioners (2nd ed.). Boulder: University Press of America Inc.
    • [ISBN-978-0-7618-6141-6]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit

Course Overview

This course bridges the gap between budget theory and practice.  You will learn the various basic skills to succeed in the public budgetary arena. These skills above all else will enable you to read a budget as well as understand various concepts and fiscal skills that go into making a budget. You will be exposed to basic budget and finance concepts, public revenue, financial management, risk assessment, cost benefit analysis and more.

As an introductory class no prior budgeting or finance will be needed, though a basic knowledge of math and the governmental system will be helpful as well as some experience with Excel. You will have a brief introduction to Excel as many of the problems will be completed in Excel.

Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain basic accounting practices for public sector entities.
  2. Describe basic budgetary forecasting and monitoring techniques.
  3. Explain the purchasing process for public entities.
  4. Identify and evaluate basic investment strategies.
  5. Identify various sources for public sector revenue.
  6. Demonstrate cost analysis and other similar evaluative strategies.


Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 396-440 90-100%
B 352-395 80-89%
C 308-351 70-79%
D 264-307 60-69%
F 0-263 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (8) 80 18%
Dropbox Assignment (5) 100 23%
Midterm Exam 100 23%
Final Paper 60 14%
Final Exam 100 23%
Total 440 100%

Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 10 Thursday/Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 1 20 Sunday
Introduction Discussion -- Tuesday
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 10 Thursday/Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 2 20 Sunday
Proctor Information N/A
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 10 Thursday/Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 3 20 Sunday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 10 Thursday/Saturday
Midterm Exam 100 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 10 Thursday/Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 4 20 Sunday
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 10 Thursday/Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 5 20 Sunday
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Thursday/Saturday
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 10 Thursday/Saturday
Final Paper 60 Tuesday
Final Exam 100 Saturday
Total Points 440

Assignment Overview


There is a non-graded Introduction Discussion (due Tuesday by 11:59 p.m. Central Time (CT) of Week 1) and 8 graded discussions in the course, worth 10 points each. You will be expected to submit an initial post and respond to posts by at least two of your classmates. Each discussion is set so that you post your original thoughts before reading the posts of your classmates. The initial posts are due on Thursday by 11:59 p.m. CT whereas response posts are due on Saturday by 11:59 p.m. CT. You are required to actively participate in the course discussions.

Active participation includes answering all the discussion questions posed each week using original thoughts (worth 6 points) and responding to a minimum of two of your classmates’ postings in each of the discussions (worth 4 points). Discussion postings will be graded according to the Discussion grade criteria table and your grade will be based on the level of thought you gave the topic and your responses to other students’ remarks.

Dropbox Assignments

There are 5 Dropbox Assignments in the course worth 20 points each and are designed for you to hone your skills on budget analysis. They are due Sunday by 11:59 p.m. CT of the assigned week. Instructions for each assignment will be located in the content section of the week they are assigned. Unless otherwise noted, you are to answer the questions in a short answer form. Use either APA or MLA style in your paper but, whatever style you choose you must be consistent throughout the entire assignment.


In Week 4, you will take a Midterm Exam worth 100 points.  The Exam will cover material from Weeks 1-4.  The Exam consists of 30 questions, including multiple-choice, true/false, and open-ended essay questions.  You will have 2 hours to take the Exam, and only one attempt is allowed.  The Exam is proctored, so Proctoring Information is due 11:59 pm CT Sunday in Week 2.  The Midterm Exam opens 12:01 am CT on Tuesday and closes 11:59 pm CT on Sunday of Week 4.

In Week 8, you will take a non-proctored Final Exam worth 100 points.  The Exam primarily covers Weeks 5-8 but be sure you understand material covered during the entire term.  The Exam consists of 44 questions, including multiple-choice, true/false, and open-ended essay questions.  You will have 2 hours to take the Exam, and only one attempt is allowed.  The Final Exxam opens 12:01 am CT on Wednesday and closes 11:59 pm CT on Saturday of Week 8.     

Final Paper

The Final Paper is designed to take what you have learned in the class and analyze a “real world” budget. It should be 8-10 double-spaced pages in length and is worth 60 points. Your grade will be based on clarity (grammar and readability), the strength of your argument, and the use of relevant literature to support your argument. Use either APA or MLA style in your paper but, whatever style you choose you must be consistent throughout the entire paper. A detailed listing of what is expected will be supplied in the course environment. The Final Paper is due Tuesday by 11:59 p.m. CT of Week 8.

Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: The Public Sector
Discussion 1

Answer all of the following questions:

In your own words describe the importance of a public budget (this is your opinion and does not need to be based on the readings).

In your own opinion why is it important to study public budgeting?

How often should a student reply to other students in each Discussion? (Syllabus)

What is the Late Assignment Policy? (Syllabus)

Dropbox Assignment 1

This Excel assignment is based on the weekly readings. Download the instructions to complete the assignment.

Introduction Discussion

Please describe yourself and what you plan to get out of this class. Please share a bit of information about yourself like year in school, occupation, hobbies and personal interests.

  • Excel 2013 Basics Guide
  • Excel 2013 Quick Start Guide
Week 2: The Context of Public Budgets and Preparing Public Budgets
Discussion 2

There are three roles that emanate from budgets: allocation, distribution and economic development.

Please explain and give an example of each. Then, explain which you feel is the most important role and why.

Describe the three budget formats.

When reading a budget, the executive summary is often the first and most important part of the budget that is read. Please explain what this is and why it is important.

There are numerous actors involved in the budget process: Chief Executive, Budget Director, Legislator/Council Member, and Agency Directors.

Which do you feel is the most important actor in the budget process and why?

Dropbox Assignment 2

This assignment is based on the weekly reading. Answer questions 1, 2, and 5 at the end of Chapter 1 of your Menifield textbook in short answer form.

Use the Chapter 1 Excel Template to show your mathematical work and/or formulas you use.

This will hold true for all assignments unless otherwise noted.

  • Menifield: Chapters 1 & 2
  • PowerPoint: Chapter 1 & 2
Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Week 3: Personal VERSUS Operating Budget
Discussion 3

According to your Menifield textbook, what are fringe benefits and on what are they based?

Describe what a pension plan is. Why is it important to any organization and what issues are present to budget makers in regard to a pension plan when creating a budget?

While personnel costs make up the bulk of budgetary expenditures, operating costs also play a role. Explain why are they also important to consider and give examples.

Describe and explain the three basic ways to present an operating budget.

Dropbox Assignment 3

This assignment is based on the weekly reading. Answer questions 2, 3, 4, and 5 at the end of Chapter 3 of your Menifield textbook in short answer form. Use the Chapter 3 Excel Template to show your mathematical work and/or formulas you use.

  • Menifield: Chapter 3
  • PowerPoint: Chapter 3
Week 4: Capital Budgeting
Discussion 4

In your own words, please describe why you would separate a capital budget from an operating budget.

Go on the web and find an example of a "capital improvement plan" and describe the plan and why it was needed.

There are two ways of financing capital programs (“pay-as-you-go” and “pay-as-you-use”). Please describe each as well as their pros and cons.

What is a bond rating and why is a government's bond rating important? Give an example of a city whose bond rating was changed and what effect that had on their budget. 

Midterm Exam

The proctored exam is worth 100 points and it mostly covers material from Weeks 1 through 4. It consists of total 30 questions, which could be multiple choice, true/false, short answer, matching and ordering questions. It will be 2 hours/120 minutes, and only one attempt is allowed.

  • Menifield: Chapter 4
  • Budgeting 101: GFOA Best Practices (in Content area)
  • PowerPoint: Chapter 4
  • Government Finance Officers Association Website (in Content area)
Week 5: Funding State and Local Budgets
Discussion 5

According to your Menifield textbook, what are the positive principles of taxes?

Taxes are often considered to be either regressive or progressive depending on one's worldview. Often times the debate is between sales taxes and income taxes. In your own view, which would you consider to be a regressive tax and why?

There are four major forms of taxes: property, income, sales and excise taxes (alcohol, tobacco, gas). Please describe each.

Gaming is another source of revenue for local governments. In your opinion is this a good source of revenue? Why or why not (this should be informed by your reading and your world view)?

Dropbox Assignment 4

GFOA Template Assignment: You are to use the GFOA Template to briefly analyze the city of Phoenix, AZ budget. Fill in the template and attach a brief (no more than one page) explanation. The assignment is to help you familiarize yourself with how to analyze a budget.

  • Menifield: Chapter 5
  • PowerPoint: Chapter 5
Week 6: Budget Techniques and Analytical Models
Discussion 6

Why is good revenue forecasting considered to be more of an art than a science?

What is cost benefit analysis? Supply an example.

What is meant by discounting?

Why would you use multiple regression analysis? According to your Menifield textbook, what are the positive principles of taxes?

Dropbox Assignment 5

This assignment is based on the weekly reading. Answer questions 1, 3, 4, and 5 at the end of Chapter 6 of your Menifield textbook in short answer form. Use the Chapter 6 Excel Template to show your mathematical work and/or formulas you use. Reminder: Please look at the Final Paper Expectations and begin to plan accordingly.

  • Menifield: Chapter 6
  • PowerPoint: Chapter 6
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Financial Management and Communicating Data
Discussion 7

Describe what is meant by financial condition or financial solvency.

There are two factors affecting the financial condition - financial and environmental. Describe each of them. Which do you think has the greater impact and why?

Describe the five things that can cause cutbacks.

Describe what debt management policy is and why governments would adopt one.

  • Menifield: Chapters 7 & 8
  • PowerPoint: Chapter 7 & 8
Week 8: Effectively Communicating Data
  • Review all content from Weeks 5-8 for Final Exam
Discussion 8

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using primary data?
Describe what a trend analysis table is.

What do you feel is the best way to display data? Please pick one of the ways from Menifield Chapter 8 and explain your reasoning.

What was the most important item you got out of the class and what would you have liked more of?

Final Paper

Analyze the budget of a city of your choice. (Phoenix, AZ is not an option.)

Final Exam

The proctored exam is worth 100 points and it mostly covers material from Weeks 5 through 8. It consists of total 44 questions, which could be multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions. It will be 2 hours/120 minutes, and only one attempt is allowed.

Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Each Dropbox assignment will be worth the points described under “Assignment Overview,” assigned on the basis of percent of completeness, correct spelling, assigned topic properly covered, proper citing, and neatness/grammar. 1 point will deducted for each day it is late with it being capped at 5 late points and non-submission of an assignment will result in a grade of “zero”.  

Please note these policies do not pertain to the Final Paper.  No late final papers will be accepted. Please plan accordingly. We will be treating this document as if you are the budget analyst and the analysis is due at that point (Tuesday of Week 8, 11:59 p.m. CT).

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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