Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Budget Priorities for the 2011-12 School Year

Believe it or not, the Needham School Committee and school administration are gearing up for a new budget season. While one budget year concluded on June 30th (Fiscal Year ’10 or FY10) and another began on July 1st (FY11), we must now prepare for the school department budget that will begin on July 1, 2011 (FY12). It seems as if we are always in budget season!

And, like last year, the development of the FY12 budget will be a challenge. Growing school enrollment at the middle and high school level, decreasing local and state revenue due to the economic downturn, and increasing student needs have combined to make the development of a school budget an enormous undertaking for the School Committee.

Each year the School Committee establishes Operating Budget Guidelines to provide the school administration guidance as we go about the task of developing a budget that best meets the needs of our students. This year, parents and members of the community are encouraged to comment on and provide feedback to the School Committee about its draft FY12 budget priorities. Please take a few minutes to read the draft budget priorities (excerpted from the document above) and submit a suggestion, comment, or question on the blog or directly to the School Committee:

FY12 Draft Budget Priorities (excerpted from Operating Budget Guidelines)

The School Committee budget should reflect certain priorities that address the needs of the Needham Public Schools. These priorities should provide direction to administrators and guide staff in developing budget recommendations. The priorities also should guide the School Committee in its deliberations and the budget planning process.

The budget should reflect the following priorities, in relative order. The School Committee may sometimes choose to fund items addressing the lower priorities over items that may claim a higher priority. While not done lightly, such choices must sometimes be made to ensure that no priority is neglected.

1. The District’s mission, vision, values, and goals;
2. The need for highly qualified staff teaching within established student/teacher ratio guidelines;
3. The ongoing refinement of curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices; and
4. The need to develop and maintain educational resources and a technology infrastructure that supports student learning and meets District goals.

For a detailed description of the budget guidelines and priorities, please visit the School Committee's webpage for more information. Thanks for your feedback!

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