Annually, the School Department develops its capital and operating budgets, which begins July 1 and ends June 30. This process is a collaborative and public process that engages the Board of Selectman, School Committee, the Appropriations Committee, Capital Expenditures Committee, Town and School staff, and citizens. The Finance Office is responsible for coordinating, developing, and monitoring the annual budget process. Each year, the School Committee develops its annual goals, budget guidelines, and budget calendar. These provide the administration with the roadmap to develop the recommended annual budget. The Superintendent is tasked with developing a budget that advances the District in concert with the outlined policy objectives. The School Committee is responsible for reviewing and approving the budget for incorporation with the full Town budget.
Major Steps in Budget Development:
Summer- School Committee establishes goals and priorities
Early Fall- School Committee approves annual budget guidelines and calendar
Fall- Staff develop budget recommendations
Late Fall/Early Winter- All departments meet with the Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations to review existing staffing levels, review budget priorities, and discuss anticipated budget requests. During this time, a series of working summit meetings including the Board of Selectman, School Committee, Appropriations Committee, and Capital Expenditures Committee are conducted to discuss the current financial health of the Town, discuss budget issues, and provide policy guidance to the Town and School staff in finalizing budget recommendations. The Superintendent, in consultation with the Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations and the School Department's Administrative Council, reviews budget requests and makes recommendations for all School programs to the School Committee.
Early Spring- A month before Town Meeting discusses financial articles, the School Committee's approved budget is distributed to Town Meeting members and the finance committees; it is also available to citizens at the Library and Town Manager's Office.
Spring- The Annual Town Meeting begins in March with meetings held on weekday evenings. Town Meeting debates and adopts the School Department budget as part of the total Town budget.