The budget is a heavily-regulated revenue and spending plan for the fiscal year. Fiscal years in the North Pocono School District run from July 1 through June 30. The preparation of the budget for the next fiscal year begins in October, as lists of spending imperatives are collected, categorized, evaluated, and prioritized. The lists are trimmed to the bare minimum over a four-month period in a collective effort of principals, department heads, the Office of the Superintendent, and the Business Manager. By January, the Board of Education usually commits to keep taxes under the limits imposed by the state for the coming fiscal year, and, by March, the business manager and superintendent formally propose the budget to the Board. In early May, the Board, after making changes of its own, makes a preliminary, public adoption of the budget. In June, the Board makes final adoption. This final adoption allows the district to continue operating on July 1 as a new fiscal year begins and levies taxes on district residents and property owners.
The budget is a document that relies heavily on prediction. By law, no funds can be expended from a budget until July 1, so items budgeted will not be purchased for approximately eight months after the request for it is made. Revenue is dependent upon the earned income of district residents, the assessed values of properties in the district, the successful collection of taxes, and the Commonwealth's education budget, all of which are subject to drastic change. A wide variety of circumstances, therefore, can play havoc with the budget at any point during the budget cycle, including but not limited to property tax reassessment, downturns in the economy, spikes in fuel prices, inflation, supply chain disruptions, catastrophic weather events, interest rate changes, new legislation, and state budget modifications. The district makes every effort to make the best predictions possible, using all available information.
The expenditures budget, per the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), is arranged according to a standardized chart of accounts. Every dollar a district intends to spend must be categorized by the account from which the expenditure will come. Each account is labeled with an appropriate and specific numeric code that can specify the fund, function, object, funding source, instructional organization, operational unit, and subject matter for which the account is used. There are hundreds of possible accounts. A more in-depth look at the chart of accounts for Pennsylvania school districts is available here (please note that this link takes you to a site outside of the North Pocono website; the North Pocono School District is not responsible for the content of this site).
The final budget includes one dollar amount for each account, representing the whole of the expenditures in that account throughout the entire district. Thus, in the preparation of the budget, the Business Office, must:
- Collect from each principal and department head the dollar amount needed in each account to effect the intended and necessary purchases for the upcoming fiscal year;
- In collaboration with the Office of the Superintendent and the individual principals and department heads, verify the necessity of each item to be purchased and trim items deemed unnecessary;
- Verify the appropriate account placement of the remaining items to be purchased;
- Aggregate the remaining requests for each account into a single dollar amount.
The revenue budget, per the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), is also arranged according to the standardized chart of accounts referenced and linked above, though the number of accounts are far fewer. The broad categories of revenue include federal funding, state funding, and local funding.
As of 2022, the district's controllable costs, which includes things like supplies and equipment, have been reduced to less than 10% of the total expenses budget. The remainder of the district's expense budget is obligated by labor contracts, debt repayment, utility bills, and the like.
As of 2022, 1.2% of the district's revenue comes from the federal government, 33% comes from the state government, and the remaining 63.8% comes from local taxpayers.
Below, you can find copies of the budget for current fiscal year (along with associated documents and presentations), budgets from previous fiscal years, and, following the March presentation to the Board of Education, the proposed budget for next fiscal year (along with associated documents and presentations).