Budget boot camp helps us thrive

At North Branch Area Public Schools, we take our responsibility to safeguard and maximize the public dollars we receive very seriously. That is why the school district convenes budget boot camp annually, whether budget adjustments are needed or not.
Budget boot camp is a comprehensive look at district finance. Suggested topics for exploration can come from any corner of the school district; from leadership, staff, and community members. Each December, I direct staff to explore each topic, and return with recommendations for cost savings and maximized returns.
Budget boot camp culminates with a meeting of principals and directors to discuss the merits of each recommendation and the challenges of implementation, both financially and logistically.
In many of the budget cycles over the last decade, North Branch Area Public Schools has been forced to make budget adjustments. Budget boot camp was instituted with two guiding principles: As a district we must make the absolute most of the funding we receive, and a lack of funding is no excuse for failing to provide students and families with improved educational opportunities.
The budget boot camp process has led to many great initiatives other school districts struggle to implement. Examples include the Bridging D3 1:1 devices for students grades 5-12, all-day every day kindergarten, Project Lead the Way, Farm to Table, the Pro-Start culinary program, JROTC, world language K-12, the provision of early childhood transportation, Begindergarten, energy saving initiatives, and much more.
The budget boot camp process has been successful in not only responsibly managing the resources we receive, but also in generating savings, and creating numerous opportunities that never fail to surprise anyone familiar with our history with state funding. It has been such a successful process that we were asked to present the benefits of budget boot camp for school board members across the state at a Minnesota School Boards Association conference.
Through the budget boot camp process, the district continues to fulfill a promise to our stakeholders. Namely, to treat each dollar we receive as precious and insure those dollars are utilized to the maximum capacity toward the benefit of students and families.
You expect nothing less. We expect nothing less.

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