Over £160m has already been spent by local authorities on Building Schools for the Future projects which have since been cancelled.
Education Secretary Michael Gove announced the axing of the £55bn BSF programme last week, meaning scheduled work on 735 schools would not proceed.
But research by the Local Government Association indicates that 67 councils spent £161.4m preparing for these schemes.
The LGA is now calling for any new school-building programme to give priority to the projects which had already reached an advanced stage of planning.
Schools and councils which had their BSF schemes axed should also be given an idea on why their projects are no longer considered viable, and given guidance on how to attract investment in future.
Shireen Ritchie, chair of the Children and Young People's Board at the LGA, said: "The Building Schools for the Future programme was over-bureaucratic and wasted councils' time and money, but the key issue is that around 700 schools and 80 councils now have to deal with plans being cancelled and scaled back.
"Councils have invested millions of pounds of taxpayers' money preparing for school building schemes which they are told will now not go ahead. Town halls which have embraced this Government initiative should not be out of pocket and their residents should not end up footing the bill. Any future plans for school rebuilding should use preparatory work which has been done already as far as is practical.”
Today, teachers, councillors and pupils are to stage a rally in Westminster, led by trade unions, protesting over the BSF cuts.