The Business Office uses reasonably conservative assumptions, projections, and budgeting practices to manage the district's finances. This reasonably conservative approach is applied to enrollment projections, state aid revenue projections, and estimates of property taxes.
The Budget Process and Timelines
Budget development for District 347 can be viewed as a five step process. This process includes the 1) Property Tax Levy Certification, 2) Original Budget, 3 & 4) Two Budget Revisions and 5) the Annual Financial Audit. This process spans multiple school and calendar years so the district can be in multiple phases of the process at any given time. This process is mandated by statute.
Property Tax Levy Certification
The process begins with the submission of estimated property tax levy information to the Department of Education in July. The state then produces a detailed levy document that is reviewed by the School Board in September, then updated later in the fall, and ultimately certified by the School Board in December following their Truth in Taxation Hearing. The collection of the property tax levy occurs during the calendar year and is intended to be utilized during the upcoming school year. For example, the tax levy for calendar year 2009 (collected by the County in May and October of 2009) will be used for the 2009-2010 school year (fiscal year 2010).
Original (preliminary) Budget
During the second half of the current school year, the district moves to the second step in the process and begins development of the original budget for the next school year. This includes the development of the capital expenditure budget during the winter and spring of the current fiscal year. A key component of the preliminary budget process is an enrollment projection completed near the end of the current school year. This projection is the basis for the budget process. The School Board must approve, by statute, a budget for the next fiscal year by the end of June. This gives the district statutory spending authority.
The third step in the budgeting process happens during the late fall and early winter of the current school year. The Business Office updates the original budget with revised estimates and presents a budget revision to the School Board in January. A final budget revision in the spring is primarily a revenue update with revised enrollment information and updated data on federal and grant programs. The Board and Administration monitor the budget on a monthly basis through the Monthly Financial Report.
Annual Financial Audit
The final step in the budget process is closing the books in late summer and the beginning of the independent audit in September. The School Board typically reviews the independent audit report in late October or early November.