Just like the earth has seasons, fall, winter, spring and summer so it seems that a school district does as well. There is the start of school then the quarter grading periods. And of course students and staff look forward to the different breaks there are in the school year, Christmas Break and Spring Break to name a couple. Next comes commencement and the end of the school year that starts the summer break.
For superintendents, business managers and school boards this time of year marks the Budget Season. This season can be filled with excitement or frustration depending on the many variables that are part of the process. This process includes gathering information, official notifications and then working with a budget committee to make a recommendation to the school board.
In Stanfield the budget committee includes the five (5) school board members and five (5) additional members of the Stanfield community. This group reviews the recommendation of the school district administration and staff and then makes a recommendation to the school board. The school board will hold a public hearing and after listening to the public will approve the budget.
Remember, a budget is an ESTIMATE of receipts and expenditures for a given amount of time. This budget season we will be estimating the revenues of the district for the 2014 – 2015 school year. Revenues include local property taxes, other local funds and the state school fund. The district must also estimate the number of students that will attend Stanfield schools next school year. The district must also estimate what the expenditures will be for the coming year. How much electricity, natural gas or propane will we use? Will other supplies increase in cost? Our job is to estimate what those increase might be.
The district will be receiving an estimate from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) soon that will give our first look at what they think our available revenue will be for the 2014 – 2015 school year. We are gathering information on the expenditure side so that we can put together a budget that will be a good representation of our expected revenues and expenditures.
This process, for me, is an open process. We have talked at several school board meetings and at other times what we anticipate, or estimate, our revenues and expenditures will be for the current school year and the next school year. Remember, it is an ESTIMATE. Another thing to remember is that all of us have our fundamental beliefs on what a budget should be. What I know is that there is no one right or wrong budget. It is the budget that the group agrees to as we move through the process.
We are all working hard here in the Stanfield School District to be good stewards of the districts resources. As such we should be in a position to put together a good budget with a reasonable spending plan. I am sure that you will read and hear many ideas and thoughts about the school district budget and process. I will do my best to give you the best information that I have and in a timely fashion.
The budget season can be a trying time or it can be one filled with anticipation as we plan for the good of the district and work to lay the foundation so that every child in the Stanfield School District can learn.