The Annual Budget Development Process
District 11’s budget process starts and finishes with the voter-elected Board of Education and incorporates many opportunities for input from parents and community residents.
District 11’s fiscal year begins on July 1, but the budget process begins approximately eight months in advance. Various segments of the D-11 community review the budget and provide input during the budget process. The superintendent has formed five sounding boards (senior citizen, teacher, parent, principal, and educational support professional) to get input on District issues, including the budget process.
In addition to the five sounding boards, there is a District Accountability Committee (DAC) budget subcommittee that involves parents, employees and community members in the budget process. Recent budget process modifications allow even more input to the allocation of resources. Comments about new funding prioritization now come earlier from the DAC budget subcommittee and District staff input is also received sooner in the budget development process.
By law, the District staff could prepare the budget and submit it to the Board of Education on May 30 with just a single public meeting prior to the Board’s vote by June 30. School District 11’s budget process far exceeds state requirements for involving the community, providing numerous opportunities for review and input.
Here is an example of a typical timeline of budget development:
Eight months ahead (October)
The DAC Budget Subcommittee begins work.
Seven months ahead (November)
Division heads and department budget managers analyze their budget needs and submit budget requests to the Budget Office.
Six months ahead (December)
The Board of Education approves the projected student count, which is used for budgeting total program funding from the state. Historically, D-11’s forecasting models provide a 99-plus percent accuracy against the final document.
Five months ahead (January)
The Board of Education reviews the District’s strategic plan and Board goals and objectives – what must be accomplished in the next year – as the basis for developing the budget.
Four months ahead (February)
The Board reviews preliminary budget development assumptions with formal input from the community. These assumptions fine tune projections of factors that were forecasted months prior – pupil count projections, school improvement plans, district improvement plans, the capital plan update and the technology plan update.
Three months ahead (March)
By now, parents, community members, employee groups, principals and budget managers have presented preliminary draft budgets. All of these recommendations are merged to result in a budget for the next school year.
One month ahead (May)
The Board and the public receive the preliminary proposed budget and forward it to the DAC for final recommendations and review.
End of June
After two more meetings at which the budget is subject to public scrutiny and Board of Education review, the board votes to approve the budget for the next school year.
Award-winning budget performance
For seventeen straight years, District 11 had been recognized by the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO). D-11 was the first school district in Colorado to receive ASBO’s Meritorious Budget Award.
Impact of the MiLO Funding on the budget development process
The Mill Levy Override (MiLO), approved by voters in November 2000, began providing additional property tax-based operating funds during FY 2000-01. The proceeds are being used specifically to fund a 24-point spending plan that was part of the MiLO ballot issue question. Because actual property tax collections fluctuate from year to year, a phased spending plan was developed using a timeline that projected when the additional funds would be received by D-11.
APPLE Performance Plan recommendations and budget implications
In addition to guaranteeing adherence to the 24-point MiLO Spending Plan (above) and formation of a citizens’ oversight committee to oversee MiLO implementation, the November 2000 ballot issue promised that a performance plan would be developed to ensure accountability. This committee is now a part of the District's Audit Committee.
The Academic Performance Plan for the Learning Environment (APPLE) was submitted to the Board of Education in November 2001. D-11 administrators and staff have reviewed and responded to the recommendations and have submitted their responses to the Board for review. The more than 40 recommendations contained in the report have been evaluated and prioritized. The financial and human resources needed to implement improvement strategies have been assessed and are addressed beginning in FY 2002-03. Subsequent performance reviews have been performed by independent consultants biannually and the results are published on the District's website.