The Northshore School District (NSD) will be adopting a new needs-based budgeting process this school year. The School Board received introductory information at the November 27th, 2018 study session. Tracy Patterson, NSD Chief Financial Officer, explained that the district will be working with the Alliance for Excellence in School Budgeting Initiative (Alliance), created by The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).
The Alliance is comprised of 90 school districts from 28 states currently and includes 8 districts from Washington State. GFOA’s program is based on 15 “best practices” and Patterson summarized them into five chronological steps within the budgeting process:
1) Plan and prepare, 2) Set instructional priorities, 3) Pay for priorities, 4) Implement the plan and 5) Ensure sustainability.
The goal of the new needs-based budgeting process is designed to support the district’s 2017-2022 Strategic Plan. The plan has four building blocks with the fourth block calling for data informed, needs-based resource allocation. This Strategic Plan element calls for a budget process to allocate school funds to ensure all aspects of the school system are aligned, that decisions are based on fact, resources are allocated equitably, in line with the needs of students and schools, and the priorities established by the community.
NSD is hoping the new budget process will be transparent and include everyone in the district. The goal is for it to be accessible and understandable for the public and to provide clear accountability for all involved and impacted. The use of the data will show if the budget has been successful in student achievement and will provide clarity on the goals and how success is measured. It will also cover all of the district resources.
The community will have several opportunities to participate in the budgeting process through public hearings in February and June 2019.
All of the materials shared with the School Board can be accessed at nsd.org.