Budget season looks different

I may have mentioned it before but it bears repeating: This year’s budget process is going to look significantly different than previous years. The primary reason for this is the school board’s decision to accept the full funding authority provided by the state in the recent omnibus bill.

What do those funds mean for us? Quite simply, it means we are not anticipating budget reductions for the first time in a decade!

Normally, we would be presenting the school board with a “January Forecast” that would summarize the expected budget shortfall.

Instead, the school district will put together a recommendation to the school board to be presented at the Thursday, Feb. 27 school board work session.

Of course, district leadership again went through the Budget Boot Camp process. It has become an indispensable tool as we plan for future years. Many wonderful things have come from the process since it was instituted, including Project Lead the Way, Spanish instruction, facility reorganization, and much more.

If there is a difference between this year’s BBC and previous years, it is that the bulk of our time was spent studying the current status of the school district and looking at what lost programs can be reinstated.

District administration discussed next year’s budget at the Feb. 13 school board meeting. Among the assumptions for next year is a return to a five-day week.

Many have asked why we would go away from the four-day week after four years and with the schedule working so well. The short and honest answer is: We promised the community we would look at returning to a five-day week when funding allowed. With the expected new funding, that time is now.

Stay tuned to our website, www.northbranch.k12.mn.us,  for budget materials, and the opportunity to weigh in on the recommendation, in the coming weeks.

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