This page provides general information about the district budget and the budget process.
What is the district budget?
In the most general definition, a budget is balancing revenue and expenditures. The district budget is calculated for the fiscal year, which runs July 1 through June 30. The budget process is year-round and involves many stakeholders including: state and local representatives, the Board of Education, district administration, the Citizen Budget Review Committee, parents, district employees, and community members.
The guide for budget priorities include the district strategic plan and the district mission: "Our mission is to provide an excellent, equitable education in a safe, supportive environment so all students will succeed and contribute to a diverse and changing society."
How is the district funded?
The district receives funding from federal, state, and borough government. The district receives the majority of it's funding from the state; the exact amount is decided by the governor and state legislature when the state budget is finalized. In general, the district revenue is 60% state, 25% local, 12% federal, and 3% other. The exact percentages will vary year to year.
What is the role of the district administration?
The superintendent and the Administrative Services department develop the proposed budget. They consider the Citizen Budget Review Committee, individual schools, and department/program manager recommendations while also reviewing district class size targets and evaluating programs and objectives to determine administrative priorities. They set supply allocation levels, develop enrollment projections, determine staffing levels and estimate state revenues. Finally, the superintendent presents the proposed budget to the Board of Education.
What is the role of the Board of Education?
The Board of Education responsibilities include appointing Citizen Budget Review Committee members and providing input regarding budget parameters and priorities to the superintendent pertaining to class size, programs, and objectives.
After the superintendent presents the proposed budget, the Board of Education holds public hearings to gather parent, employee, and community feedback before adopting and approving the recommended budget. The recommended budget is sent to the borough and the local contribution is decided. If necessary, the Board of Education adjusts the budget to match the funding level decided by the borough assembly and state legislature.
Planning for the budget process begins in September with the selection of new members to the budget committee. In the fall, the committee reviews the current academic year’s approved budget and identifies key points for communication to the Board of Education. In November, the administration submits enrollment projections to the Alaska Department of Education.
In December, school, department, and program leadership provide budget recommendations to the superintendent. The superintendent considers feedback from the budget committee district leadership, as well as class size targets and strategic goals and objectives to determine administrative priorities.
Through the strategic plan, the Board of Education provides guidance on district initiatives and budget priorities.
Preparation of upcoming academic year’s proposed budget begins in December and is presented to the Board of Education by the first week of February. Once the proposed budget is presented to the Board of Education, the public can provide feedback at regular board meetings, through email, and online through public outreach tools.
After public input, changes are made to the budget as needed and the recommended budget is presented to the Board for approval. By State of Alaska statute, the Board of Education must submit the district budget to the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) Assembly no later than May 1 for approval of the total amount. Borough ordinance has set that date as April 1.
The Assembly determines the local appropriation for education, approves the district’s bottom line budget in total, and sets the local mill levy accordingly. Funds for the support of operating schools are subject to the tax cap adopted by FNSB voters.
With a 90-day session, the legislature will typically approve a statewide budget for education by mid-April, unless they extend to special session(s). The budget is subject to veto by the governor, which can occur as late as July. If the district requests are fully funded by the Borough Assembly and the State, the budget process is nearly complete. If the level of local or state funding has changed, the Board must determine where budget adjustments are to be made and provide an opportunity for public comment. In either case, final action on the budget is required.
When the final budget is balanced to match funding levels from the Borough and State, the budget becomes the “Approved Budget” and the spending plan of the district. The Board of Education adopts the Approved Budget by resolution.