One of the most important tasks for every Las Cruces (N.M.) Public School principal is building an annual budget for his or her school.
There have been fewer dollars for all schools - the budget dropped more than 13 percent during the past three years - and more students for many. It isn't just a matter of calculating costs and making them match available funds. Actively seeking out and listening to parent input on school needs is an integral part of the budget process.
"Parent input is critical to each school's needs analysis, which, in turn, drives their annual budget request," said LCPS Assistant Superintendent for Finance Terry Dean.
"We are always budgeting. In fact, as we build the budget for fiscal year (FY) 2013, we are planning the budget for FY 2014," Dean said. "We start the budget process in late August or early September. The schools receive the information to start budget planning in December and their submissions are due back to the finance office in March."
Superintendent Stan Rounds told principals in March that his primary goal in reviewing school budgets is "ensuring sufficiency for students." Rounds said he will rely on principals' "wisdom and evaluation" - including parental and staff input - in making final budget decisions.
"Our budget is not simply a series of numbers, it's a reflection of our priorities from our Educational Plan for Student Success (EPSS)," said Jornada Elementary Principal Arsenio Romero.