Creating school budget a year round challenge with unknown funding

Howard Dennis
Howard Dennis

Penn Yan Central School District Superintendent Howard Dennis explains the uncertainties involved in creating a school budget.

Creating a school district budget in the best of times is a year round, time consuming job.  With restrictions on funding and taxing abilities and also increased needs of students and being asked to take on more responsibilities for different aspects of student lives, it is a challenge.  

Add to that, the unknown amount of funding from one of your two main funding sources (State Aid) and you have an almost impossible situation.  Every school district and Board of Education in the Finger Lakes is maneuvering that impossible situation this year as the State supplies us with a funding amount but makes it well known that there are multiple possibilities to take that money away or reduce it over the first eight to nine months of a one year budget. 

In most of our home budgets we would just cut back on expenses, or delay the purchase of wanted items if we were worried about income or loss of a job.  Unfortunately in a School district budget there are very few wants anymore.  Most of us have had to trim back over time on the areas that are not mandated or a goal or focus for our community.  Our students need all of the programs that have been put in place to be successful.  Some of them need even more that we are not able to provide now and the thought of taking some of the current ones away is a horrifying thought for many of us who have built these support structures over time.  

In the end, the budget proposals that are being put forth to you are the best attempt to protect programming and support for our students while balancing the reality of our economic climate and community resources in an uncertain time.  

Howard Dennis

Penn Yan Central School Superintendent