The Fulton school district has set up its calendar for building its next budget.
A committee will create drafts of the budget, which Superintendent Bill Lynch will bring before the Board of Education for its review and comments. All school budgets in the state go before voters on May 18, 2010.
Budget reviews begin in two weeks for each building in the district, along with health and physical education, technology, special education and other units.
The rest of the calendar:
- January 5: First budget committee meeting
- January 12: Public update to the Board of Education
- January 19: Second budget committee meeting
- January 26: Superintendent’s report to the Board of Education
- February 2: Third budget committee meeting
- February 9: Superintendent’s budget report to the Board of Education
- February 16: Budget committee meeting, to be determined
- February 26: Superintendent’s report to the Board of Education
- March 2: Budget committee meeting on budget draft #1
- March 9: Board of Education meeting on budget draft #1
- March 16: Budget committee meeting to refine budget for draft #2, if needed
- March 23: Board of Education meeting on budget draft #2
- April 13: Board of Education adopts budget (tentative)
- May 5: Public hearing on budget (tentative)
- May 18: Statewide school budget voting day
Fulton, like most school districts, will face several challenges in developing a 2010-2011 budget.
First, an increase in state aid is seen as unlikely as the state continues to battle multi-billion dollar deficits. Districts are hoping to avoid cuts in aid, but Governor Paterson has said school aid should take its share of cuts along with every other state program.
Then there’s the problem of staff retirement costs. Schools and local governments have been told by the state that they will be paying very high portions of the cost of staff retirements for the next few years. Worker and state contributions have been invested and in years when the investments did well, schools and local governments paid nothing or almost nothing towards worker retirements. But investments crashed when the economy did. There are at least two more years of very large increases in school district and local government contributions needed to offset the investment losses.
And the bill for robbing Peter to pay Paul comes due in 2010. Federal stimulus money was used in 2009-2010 school budgets to offset the money taken out of school aid by the state. Stimulus funds promised to districts for that purpose in the 2010-2011 budgets were taken away recently by Gov. Paterson to fill part of this year’s state budget gap. That will put local districts tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars behind the current budget even before they begin to plan.