The big question
by Paul Socolar on Apr 30 2009 Posted in Eye on the budget
Of the questions raised by the District's plans for allocating their massive $314 million increase in spending next school year, one seems paramount.
Now that the District has a strategic plan guiding its next five years, why is such a small fraction of the new spending being driven by or devoted to the priorities of the plan?
Out of $314 million in projected new spending, District offficial say only $126 million is going to spending on the Phase I (Year 1) priorities of the plan. That's just 40 percent of the new money.
So what's the rationale driving the rest of the spending? As I noted in an earlier post, only a small portion of it, $49 million was predetermined. While certain funding streams have specific restrictions, there is a whole lot of discretionary money in play.
It seems like a disconnect. Either the budget should be better aligned with the priorities in the plan, or the plan needs to be updated to reflect the actual spending recommendations in the budget.
We've relayed the question to District Chief Business Officer Mike Masch, but might not hear back from him this week. The finance staff is hard at work at completing its massive budget book with all the detail on their proposals. It will be posted here along with other budget documents, and it has been promised by May 1, in time for the budget hearings that start next week.