It is a smaller segment of the district's long budget process, but the most important part. School budgeting determines the level of staffing each school receives, and strongly affects staff continuity in schools from year to year. This is how it works:
1. The district makes enrollment projections for every school in the district (February-ish).
2. Based on those projections, district administrators allocate staff and money to schools using a funding formula called the WSS (also February-ish, released with the enrollment projections).
The WSS has formulas for each type of school:
- elementary (with 3 staffing sizes. under 300, 300-450, over 450)
- K-8 (with 5 staffing sizes. under 300, 300-399, 400-499, 499-700 and over 700)
- middle (with 3 sizes. under 700, 701-900 and over 900)
- high school (with 4 sizes. under 800, 801-1100, 1101-1500, over 1501)
3. After the initial allocation, no matter how crappy, the budgets are sent to schools to "approve." Schools have some wiggle room to make decisions (sometimes if staff is being reduced, they get to decide who goes), but mostly, they have to approve the budget.
4. Initial enrollment numbers come in (May-ish), and "staffing adjustments" are made upwards or downwards. I have just a wee bit of additional commentary on this portion of the process.
5. Secondary enrollment numbers come in (over the summer). Judging by what happened at Garfield this past fall, nothing happens at this point.
6. Students arrive at school. Final staffing adjustments are made and finalized by October 1.