Furthermore, next year's budget is considered flat when it entirely accommodates the slope of increases in staff salary and benefits. So it is not unusual to hear Board members euphemistically say the the budget stays the same from this year to next or it doesn't cost us any more. In fact the unconscionable increases in salary not only increase costs, they compound the cost year over year assuming there's no intervention.
But given the economic environment, suburban schools in CT need to get smarter about school. In other words, we need to begin modeling every school every year. That means that the tight coupling of curriculum to spreadsheet budgets needs to be decoupled.
Based on the local fiscal tea leaves, communities need to determine what they can afford and settle on a figure that is fair to the average taxpayer. That's the budget part.
Whatever this sum, the skeleton key to creating next year's academic infrastructure needs to be a school model of what's important to the school.
A Captain Obvious list of necessities includes:
- bare bones services mandated by law
- mandated curriculum offerings
- fixed and inevitable costs (heat, water, fuel, books, supplies, consumables)
- core sports costs
- bare bones enrichment curriculum offerings
- bare bones administrative costs
The final component might be:
- non-core sports
- supplemental courses
- poorly performing courses or departments
- vanity offerings or department silos that can be pruned without a loss of fundamental mission
Schools that are growing can scale up intelligently and scale back equally intelligently. This is different but related to strategic planning. Modeling is about generating cost effective education and agile academic year-to-year continuity so that curriculum stay s fresh and vital.