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Budget Timing Challenges Discussed at Hillsborough School Board

Board changes March meeting dates to accomodate meeting schedule.

There's a bit of absurdity in the state-set calendar for school districts to set their annual budgets—especially for districts who changed to November voting as Hillsborough recently did.

"A budget that doesn't go to a vote, that doesn't go into effect until July, and we have to have it turned in (to the county) in the beginning of March," board member Greg Gillette noted at Monday's meeting, as board members wrestled with the compressed schedule requiring school districts to file annual budgets within days of receiving state aid figures.

The board is required to submit a budget to the county superintendent by March 7, one week after receiving state aid figures.

Between the end of February and the March 7 deadline, the board must calculate the final revenue and expense projections and complete a final review of the budget. Members of the board's Operations Committee will complete a review of the budget over the March 2 weekend, and the board will meet March 4 to vote on the final approval of the budget.

Board members approved rescheduling two meetings in March to facilitate the budget process, moving the March 11 meeting to March 4, and the March 18 meeting to March 21 for a public hearing on the budget.

"It is our plan to develop a balanced budget by March 2," District Business Administrator Aiman Mahmoud said. He added the budget could be advertised in area newspapers March 14, with a user-friendly budget posted on the district website March 18.

Board President Thomas Kinst suggested the board take some time before the March meetings to discuss its goals and values for developing the budget before the final stages.

Fieldhedge Drive resident Jennifer Dowd spoke during the meeting's public comment time, asking the board how much is spent on instructional programs that could be developed by teachers in the district (see video), and where to find information on last year's budget.

Superintendent Jorden Schiff pointed out detailed information on the 2012-13 budget is available on the district website, under the "Services" tab and the "Business Office" link.   

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