The school district budget has two pieces – Revenue and Expenses.
$ 30 million which is 85% of the District’s projected 2011/12 Revenue should come from the State. The problem is the District does not actually know how much it will receive. Since the budget crisis started the State has been withholding more than 20% of our funding. Total Revenue has been dropping over the last 4 years. Budget allocations are often not finalized until the fall.
Expenses are different. The district can accurately forecast what each and every item in the budget will likely cost. One of the problems with the current system is the need to frequently re-evaluate what will be cut when there are additional revenue reductions.
One way to address this issue is a prioritized spending plan. Like a line item budget every expense is detailed in a list. The list is then prioritized. As revenues drop the items at the bottom (lower priority) are dropped. The list and the priorities need only be discussed and set one time.
Advantages of a prioritized spending plan are:
- The process becomes much more transparent. Everyone knows exactly what will be cut if funding is not available and what will be reinstated if funds do become available.
- The collective bargaining units clearly understand what would be gained if they grant concession to the School District.
- The School Board can better assess how much of the reserves should be used on a year by year basis.
- Citizen fundraising groups could better focus on the funding goals needed to save specific programs.
The School Board is interested in your input. This item will be discussed at the next Board meeting on May 19th.