While it’s very normal for many businesses to pass costs along to consumers and increase prices of products or services to stay ahead financially, public entities simply don’t operate in that reality; public schools must live within their ever-changing means. Occasionally, school districts will ask taxpayers to vote for an increase in local property tax levy rates or to approve a bond measure for capital expenditures, but that certainly doesn’t happen on a regular basis. Thus, every spring, administrators in Deer Park engage in thoughtful budget planning processes with the ultimate goal of creating a sound financial plan that achieves the educational objectives of the district – while not exceeding available revenues.
The budget building process typically looks something like this:
- review of current year programs and services, analysis of student enrollment/demographics
- review of community expectations
- careful consideration of major factors that impact the budget (i.e. legislative changes and directives, revenue estimates, and staff wage & benefit increases, to name a few).
- initial lists of program and building need & desires are presented to Superintendent and Business Manager
- Superintendent seeks input from the Board of Directors
- final recommendations/deliberations regarding adds or cuts take place at the end of school year
This process culminates in the final budget being built by the Superintendent and Business Manager, who complete the budget and submit it to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (in July). The final budget is then formally presented to the Board of Directors at a board meeting each August.
In the most simple terms, the district budget is the community’s educational plan expressed in dollars. Yet, truth is, school district budgeting is incredibly complex and trying to read the F-195 Budget Document that shows every detail regarding revenues and spending can be like trying to read Hieroglyphics – it’s just not a very “friendly” document.
With that in mind, we set out to create a more useful budget document – a simplified guide to the District’s budget that provides a much more digestible and helpful overview of where the District gets money and how we intend to spend those dollars. The document is an effort to keep parents and patrons more informed about the District’s budget; our hope is that by fostering greater understanding of our budget, we can more effectively engage the community in conversations about allocation decisions.
So, for the second year, we’re excited to publish our “Citizen’s Guide to the District’s Budget.” This document will continue to be updated on an annual basis and it will always be available for download on this website. If you have questions about the document or any of the information is contains, please feel free to call the Deer Park School District central office at 464.5500 and ask for either District Business Manager, Shauna Ferguson, or District Superintendent, Travis Hanson.
Click on the document below to access the .pdf – thanks for taking a moment to familiarize yourself with the guide.