School Year Budget Transition

By Charles K. Trainor

As June approaches, the school year draws to an end for most districts around the country. Administrators arrange final exam schedules, contemplate next year’s staffing requirements, and plan the graduation ceremony. High school seniors look forward to college, the military, or employment opportunities. Other students yearn for the end of homework assignments and the start of summer activities with family and friends.

The end of the school year is exhilarating for board members too, with opportunities to attend concerts, plays, and award ceremonies and to offer personal congratulations to students and their family members. These are the moments that make school governance satisfying. It is even possible, in the rosy glow of retrospect, to forget early morning emergency meetings or contentious sessions that extended beyond midnight.

Of course, this time also is challenging for board members. For many districts, the end of the school year coincides with the end of the district’s fiscal year on June 30. The transition period from the current fiscal year to the next is critically important. Board members’ diligent oversight and attention to detail are essential to the continued success of the district’s educational programs and financial well-being. For example, budgetary projections and estimates must be checked and rechecked or the consequences may be devastating.

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