There seems to be no more misunderstood topic than that of public school budget development and adoption. Please know right up front that we aim to be very transparent with our budget development. We realize that we are funded by public tax dollars and that this is not an unlimited resource. We start the budget development process for the next school year during December of the current school year. I realize this seems early, but there are many steps that need to occur prior to final adoption. Below is the budget time line adopted by the school board on 11/30/11:
12/2/11 Administrators submit budgets to Superintendent
1/17 - 2/2 Administrators meet with Superintendent and Business Manager
3/14, 3/28 Budget presentations to School Board (in public board meetings)
4/4 Budget Workshop with Selectmen
4/11 School Board Budget Meeting
4/25 Board adopts RSU budget
6/6 Public meeting to adopt the proposed budget
6/9 Budget referendum vote (by town)
It is important to know that all board budget meetings are open to the public. There are many sections to a schools' budget. These include, but are not limited to: Instruction, Guidance, Library, Office of the Principal, Operations and Maintenance, Co-Curricular, Extra-Curricular and others. The areas mentioned above are directly in the OHMS budget. There are other areas that exist within the RSU budget. Confused yet? We try very hard to create a budget that meets the needs of the school and our students, but stay fiscally responsible as well. This is not always an easy balance to strike.
I invite any member of the public (not just OHMS parents) to make an appointment to meet with me and ask questions about the budget or the process. Transparency is the goal. If I can't answer the question, I can likely point you in the right direction.