In Vermont, every school board is responsible for bringing a school budget to the voters each year. This can be a time consuming and complex process, and one that starts up to a year before any of the funds will be spent. The annual budget cycle now begins in August of each year - 7 months before the vote.
From year to year, the goal is to develop a budget that successfully represents the priorities and values of our community when it comes to student learning while meeting the needs of local taxpayers. This requires a lot of planning, analysis, and discussion on the part of the school board, superintendent, school administrators, and business manager, along with input and feedback from the community.
Each year the board moves through three general phases:
Phase 1: Setting Parameters and Priorities
The first step in the annual budget building process is for the board to discuss and set specific goals for the budget, such as district priorities or parameters within which the administration must remain. This generally occurs in August through October of each year. We encourage community participation in this stage through public comment during regular board meetings.
Phase 2: Drafting Budget Documents3>
The central office administration and school principal are responsible for the actual building of a budget that meets the expectations set by the board. Each draft is presented to the board during board meetings along with a rationale; community members are welcome to attend and speak at these meetings.
Once the budget is accepted by the board, it must be communicated to the community so that all citizens are adequately informed come voting time. This generally includes presentations at town meeing and letters to the Editor. We are currently discussing ways to increase public input and participation in the budget development process for this upcoming round.
The budget is also published as part of the Woodbury Town Annual Report within the annual school report.
Board Focus: review fourth draft of budget, if necessary and vote to approve if satisfied.