Each year, the District establishes a budget development and review schedule in accordance with Act 1. The process begins in the fall with an assessment of district facilities and distribution of a formula-driven allocation to each of the building principals. Concurrently, the schools' staffing needs are reviewed and also a budget is developed for capital/maintenance projects based on each school's needs. The requests are reviewed and compiled by the business office staff. The Director of Business Affairs is responsible for developing the budget, with assistance from members of the District Cabinet, comprised of the Superintendent, Assistant to the Superintendent/Pupil Services, Director of Human Resources and the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Each building principal must present and justify budget requests to the Director of Business Affairs. Requests are modified based on the total budget impact, district priorities and district goals and objectives. Changes are made with the input of other district staff. A revised document – a Preliminary Budget – is then developed and reviewed over the course of several Finance Committee meetings. Community input is encouraged at these meetings. The meeting schedule is posted on the Board Meeting Calendar.
The Director of Business Affairs is responsible for incorporating any changes to the Preliminary Budget discussed at the Finance Committee. Each May, the full Board will approve a Proposed Final Budget, which becomes available for public inspection at the District office and the SASD Web site. The Final Budget will incorporate any changes made, and will be approved by the Board in June.
Each year during the budget development process, appropriate district staff review each line item request for appropriateness and cost effectiveness in accomplishing district goals and objectives.
The budget is managed through a decentralized accounting system where over 2,000 accounts are distributed between fifteen administrators having budget responsibility. These administrators receive printouts from the business office at least monthly to update them on the financial position of each of their accounts. The district’s requisition/purchase order software alerts users if available/unencumbered budget amount is not sufficient to cover the requisition being entered. Budget transfer requests must be approved at the district office level if the requisition is to be processed further. In addition, transactions and periodic reports are reviewed by district administration to assure that accounts are not overspent without necessary justification. It is the administrator’s decision as to items which merit purchase and inclusion in budget requests. Budget reductions, when necessary, are prioritized by these administrators and then further by the central office administrative staff.