A. Developing a budget for a future school year is a
year-round process. It typically begins in the fall with a review of the
previous year’s expenditures and the educational priorities set by the
Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Board of Education over the summer. District
administrators look at the cost of RCS educational programs, the success
of those programs – as measured in state, national and district reports
– and at how the programs align with the school board’s priorities. Over
several months, school building administrators also work with their
teachers and support staff to develop individual building budgets and to
identify program spending areas that could be more efficient. They share
that information with district administrators, who can then make
projections for the following year based on historical data.
Other factors that have an effect on the annual school budget include increasing costs associated with meeting state and federal mandates, changes in state and federal aid, and economic trends that affect the local tax base. Contractual obligations – whether for employee bargaining units or service providers – are also taken into account and can be projected based on the commitments previously agreed upon. Other factors that come into play include enrollment data, changes in students’ interest in non-mandated programs and the calculation of the district’s tax levy limit. The tax levy limit sets the threshold for voter approval of the school budget, and it must be calculated and submitted to the state by March 1.
The superintendent presents a draft budget proposal to the school board in early February. The school board then revises the proposal over the next two to three months so that it best reflects their goals for the district and the community’s feedback on those goals. A final budget proposal is adopted in mid-April, and eligible district residents can vote on it in mid-May.
Click here to view an infographic that presents a simple, step-by-step overview of the annual school budget development process.