Website Files for November 2012 SSFC workshops
(Workshop Attendees will have a considerably better working knowledge of these data sets.)

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File Name: 2012 Budget Focus Group Charge.pdf
Description: This is a document that outlines the “charge” of the “Budget Focus Group”. While all decisions on budget rest with the Board of Education the use of a Budget Focus Group provides a vehicle to engage community members from multiple stakeholder groups about relevant budget issues and is often helpful to gauge community support for school district budget initiatives. The BOE has previously reviewed all documents used with the Budget Focus Group.

File Name: 2012-2013 Base Budget.pdf
Description: Key to any budget development process is the “roll-over budget”. The roll-over budget defines current allocations for district initiatives and invites a look at the revenues and expenses per budget code based on a continuation of the current trends. It helps to articulate the impact of the current initiatives on the budget, the levy tax cap, and tax rates. It sets the stage for further discussions and analysis of current conditions with an eye on the district’s educational strategic plan into the future. The policies and practices of the educational program are linked to the fiscal program and this informs practice for the superintendent, the BOE and others.

File Name: Average Class Size Guidelines.pdf
Description: This chart represents the impact of the number of sections on class sizes. First updated enrollments are entered into the chart, then the impact of increased or decreased numbers of sections are visible based on desired class sizes per grade levels as district class size policy or parameters. This is a useful and easy tool to analyze the influence of budget and enrollment changes. It can be easily understood by everyone.

File Name: Budget Calendar 2012_2013.pdf
Description: This budget calendar is designed to create the greatest amount of analysis, evaluation and action as the relationship between district educational and fiscal strategic plans as they are scrutinized. The aggressive timeline is designed to maximize the involvement of district leaders in the budget development process in order to create a final budget document that withstands educational and fiscal scrutiny by stakeholders and the BOE. Note the significant amount of “decentralized centralization” in the budget development process. Lines of responsibility and authority are clearly defined.

File Name: Budget Guidelines 2012_2013.pdf
Description: This is document outlines the charge and responsibilities of members of the administrative team for the development of the budget. Meeting dates are frequent and firm, as are the responsibilities of each member of the leadership team for district educational strategic plan. Integral to that plan are the unambiguous administrative fiscal responsibilities to create and maintain effectiveness, efficiency and economies of scale. Note the commitment to each in the document as evidenced with bidding, replacement schedules and other metrics.
Focus is placed on “need based on results”, priorities, detail and accuracy of the data submitted and critical rationale for each item. The use of “Wincap” technology ensures a budget is built, and when subsequently passed can be enacted with little additional effort.

File Name: Feb 2012 Midpoint Check.pdf
Description: This document is just what the title implies- a Mid-Point Check. The budget development process is not complete and portions of the budget, and budget challenges have been identified and are in need of a solution. The entire administrative team is brought up to speed with regard to the budget issues that remain, the implications of federal state aid losses over time, enrollment projections and other factors for administrative analysis and solution. This reinforces the “decentralized centralization” theme of the budget development process and encourages dialogue about district priorities and educational and fiscal strategy.

File Name: Recommendation of initial 12-13 budget.pdf
Description: This document outlines the initial budget recommendation and supportive Tax Cap, and local tax rate information available. This provides the considerable data needed by the BOE and others for decision making.

File Name: March 22 2012 Update.pdf
Description: As the state budget appears to materialize and the district’s budget process is refined and subject to greater scrutiny, the superintendent must provide guidance, counsel and recommendations to the BOE. This is a critical time period and disciplined, reasoned, rational and thoughtful budget development processes must be maintained. With the potential for some modicum of budget relief in possible sight and the further need to update and refine budget numbers, the superintendent leads the district with a BOE update and proposals so as to secure the best possible educational and fiscal outcomes rather than allow the process to end haphazardly.

File Name: March 30 2012 Update.pdf
Description: One key to leadership is constant communication. The superintendent, as new information is available must share all relevant information with a BOE so that a sound and thoughtful budget decision can be made. This document updates the BOE with regard to the latest property value assessment and state aid documentation. Additionally, it evaluates that information and supplies the BOE with guidance for further review and invites dialogue.

File Name: BOE 031312 Supt Budget Proposal.pdf
Description: The superintendent must ultimately recommend a budget for Board of Education approval. This budget is the result of the analysis of the district educational strategic plan, expenditure and revenue patterns, interactions with staff, administrators, dialogue with the Budget Focus Group and others as well as numerous board meetings (as identified in the budget calendar). Although the BOE has been involved in the entire budget development process, this recommendation comes before the BOE at a meeting during which the BOE must act to but a budget before the voters. This allows for alterations based on new information about state aid revenues (Note: this proposal occurs before the state budget is finalized.) and further enhancements and reallocations based the district strategic plan and continued BOE and superintendent analysis and input.

File Name: 2012 - 2013 Tax Cap Calculation Forward Sample.pdf
Description: This file represents a simple attempt to model the impact of the Tax Cap over the next three years based on set of variables. This file is not interactive yet it demonstrates most, but not all, relationships between the moving parts of the Tax Cap Formula and the dangers the Tax Cap formula holds for districts that try to “artificially” depress taxes, absorb exemptions into the budget or are subject to increases in debt service. The spreadsheet with the same name on this portion of the website is interactive.

File Name: 2012 - 2013 Tax Cap Calculation Forward Sample.xlsx
Description: This file represents a simple attempt to model the impact of the Tax Cap over the next three years based on a number of variables. The spreadsheet has a number of links and moving parts and may not be as detailed as every district needs it to be but it does provide a basic framework from which to start analysis. This file represents a simple attempt to model the impact of the Tax Cap over the next three years based on set of variables. This file is interactive as it demonstrates most, but not all, relationships between the moving parts of the Tax Cap Formula and the dangers the Tax Cap formula holds for districts that try to “artificially” depress taxes, absorb exemptions into the budget or are subject to increases in debt service.

File Name: TRS ERS to 2014 Model only as of 111212.pdf
Description: This file shows a “model” of how TRS and ERS the rate increases have caused significant expense increases to school districts since 2002-03. Although the specifics of each district’s experiences may are different the “model” illustrates the rapid increase in expenses to school districts. Hypothetical staff raises have been added to demonstrate that cost expansions are much larger than many have understood. Note that districts have not been able to glean expense relief promised from Tier V and Tier VI legislation due in large part to Foundation Aid freezes, loss of significant Federal Aids and massive DRA/GEA cuts over the last four years that have swelled the ranks of their district preferred eligibility list and/or simply staff layoffs. (Thus, to some degree reductions in force have caused unemployment insurance costs to escalate. Moreover, for many districts it will be years before preferred eligibility lists are exhausted to the degree that Tier V or VI members will join the ranks of Tier II and IV employees an any small savings be realized.)

File Name:  What are Fund Balances and how do they work.xlsx
Description:  This multi-tab spreadsheet file uses a “model” to illustrate the role, creation and maintenance of Fund Balances in a school district budget development process. The “arrangement” of the Assigned Appropriated Fund Balance (monies used to offset and thus diminish the tax levy), Adjusted Unrestricted Fund Balance (Cash on hand and miscellaneous monies), and the Adjusted Restricted Fund Balance (Reserves). 
The particular focus of this “model” is on the Assigned Appropriated Fund Balance, simply called the Appropriated Fund Balance.  The Appropriated Fund Balance is a critical component of the budget development process under the new Tax Cap requirements.
The spreadsheet is intended to assist district leaders as they illustrate the process by which the Tax Levy is determined and the role of fund balances and the Appropriated Fund Balance is particular, in that process.  It is advised that portions of the multi-tab spreadsheet be introduced in distinct instructional segments to increase audience (learner) comprehension of the concepts and workings of fund balances.

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