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School and District Budget

By Dan Holle



2009-2010 School Budgets At a Glance

Minneapolis, MN School District - $666,398,718
Milwaukee, WI School District - $1,072,818,849
Independent District 196 (Apple Valley, MN) - $323,000,000
Eau Claire, WI School District - $143,352,471
Edina, MN School District - $104,528,916
Hudson, WI School District - $64,324,012

Who develops the budget?

The school board is the governing body of the school district who is responsible for developing policy regarding the finances while supporting the mission of the district. Within the school district, a committee is formed to provide feedback to the school board regarding the budget. Members of the district administration, building administration, teachers, and support staff are assigned to the committee. School and District budgets may vary based on the governing body that oversees the school budget. Many times a district or a Board of Finance oversees the budget as each school does not have control over funds.

Who decides the school budget?

Ultimately the school budget is controlled by the local, state, and federal government governor. In Minnesota, although it varies per district, approximately 75% of a school and district's budget is funded by the state. Another 20% of the funds come from local taxes, 3% from local revenue, and 2% from Federal aid. The District or Board of Finance will go through a process of determining where the funds are allocated. A series of budget drafts are issued throughout the year and a finalized budget is issued in late spring for the following school year.

Where are the funds allocated?

Generally funds are allocated into three types of categories shown below. Within these categories are used only for general funds expenses, school operations expenses are separated for food services, community services, building, and debt services.

General Fund Expenses Breakdown
Salaries and Benefits - 88%
Services - 8.5%
Supplies and Materials - 3.5%

Budget Five-Step Process - District 196

1. Property Tax Levy: this is based on the current legislation and formulas and updated yearly per district.
2. Preliminary Budget: during the middle of each year, a district begins to make a preliminary budget for the next school year based on enrollment projections, budget forecast, development of staffing guidelines, and determination of revenue and expenditure.
3. Final Budget: Each fall the preliminary budget is finalized with staffing allocations and any law changes.
4. Budget Adjustments: In the spring, the budget is adjusted based on any federal and state grant programs and align closer with expenditures.
5. Annual Finance Report & Audit: During the late summer the budget is closed and financial statements are prepared. An audit is routinely done to ensure proper reporting.

Links:
Minnesota Dept of Education
Wisconsin Dept of Education
Minneapolis School District
District 196 Budget
Edina School District