Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Budget Process?
The budget is a financial plan that estimates the cost to operate district schools and programs for the next fiscal year. The district prepares its annual budget in accordance with provisions of Oregon Local Budget Law (ORS 294), which provides standard procedures for the preparation, presentation, administration and appraisal of budgets. The following links/publications provided by the Oregon State Dept. of Revenue provide information about local budgeting in Oregon.
- Local Budgeting in Oregon, 150-504-400 (Rev. 1-12)
- Local Budget Law, 150-504-620 (Rev. 1-03)
- Local Budgeting Manual, 150-504-420 (Rev. 5-12)
The law mandates public involvement in budget preparation and public exposure of proposed programs. The law also requires that the budget be balanced, that is, projected resources must equal projected requirements in each fund.
Budget preparation takes several months and involves both building-based and central staff. Once a proposed budget is developed, the Superintendent presents it and the budget message to the Budget Committee, which then reviews the proposed budget and receives public comment. The Budget Committee recommends revisions to the budget if needed and approves a budget for School Board adoption.
The first Budget Committee meeting to review the proposed budget is generally held in April, unless an earlier meeting is required to address special circumstances. Notice of the meeting is published twice in the local newspaper, five to 30 days before each meeting date with notices separated by at least five days.
Once a document is given to the Budget Committee, citizens may view the budget reports online or can obtain a copy by calling (541) 997-2651.
2. How is the budget adopted?
At the first Budget Committee meeting, the Superintendent presents the budget message, which explains the proposed budget and identifies significant changes in district programs or financial condition. At a subsequent meeting, the Budget Committee receives public comment, makes revisions, and approves the budget. The Budget Committee may meet as many times as needed to revise and complete the budget.
After the Budget Committee approves a budget, the budget is forwarded to the School Board for further public testimony and review. A summary of the approved budget and notice of budget hearing is published once in the local newspaper, five to 30 days in advance of the hearing. The notice indicates where the complete budget document is available for inspection.
The School Board may make changes in the approved budget before or after it is adopted, but no later than June 30, the last day of the old fiscal year. There are two limitations which cannot be exceeded without publishing a revised summary of the budget and holding another budget hearing on the revisions: First, taxes needed to balance the budget may not be increased beyond what is approved by the budget committee. Second, estimated expenditures in any one fund may not be increased by more than ten percent. After the budget hearing and consideration of public testimony, the Board adopts the budget in the latter part of June.
3. What are Supplemental Budgets?
If the school district receives unanticipated revenues or a change in financial planning is required, a supplemental budget may be adopted to authorize a change in the budget within a fiscal year. A supplemental budget cannot be used to authorize a tax levy.
The School Board may adopt a supplemental budget at a regular public meeting if expenditures in the supplemental budget are less than 10 percent of the annual budget fund being adjusted. If the expenditures are more, the School Board must first publish the supplemental budget and hold a special hearing
4. Does the school district have a contingency fund?
No, the school district does not have a contingency fund, however the word contingency is used in the Audited Annual Financial Reports. Oregon Local Budget Law establishes the following legal levels of budgetary control:
- Supporting Services
- Community Services
- Facilities Acquisition and Construction
- Inter-agency/Fund Transactions
- Debt Service
If the district has budgeted an ending fund balance, it is classified under Contingency for budgeting purposes.
5. What is Ending Fund Balance used for?
Ending Fund Balance insures that the district has sufficient funds available to meet operational costs for the months of July-August.
6. Oregon State has been warning school districts about an increase in PERS rates for the 2013-2015 biennium. Didn't the district anticipate this increase?
The Siuslaw School District was aware of the PERS increase effective July 1, 2013. Over the past few years, the rising cost of PERS was anticipated and accounted for in the budget process to cover the rate increase in the 2013-2014 school year. Unfortunately, the district did not anticipate a loss in revenue on property tax collection for the local option levy. This loss of revenue is called "compression". To date, the district has collected $557,413 less in revenue than expected, neutralizing any future savings for the rising PERS rates.
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