Understanding Our Budget

  • Each year Columbia Heights Public Schools prepares an operating budget that supports the school district. As with any "business," the school district must "live within its means," meaning that by each June 30th (the end of the fiscal year) the district is not "spending beyond its means." Consecutive national awards and objective third-party audits testify that the business experts of Columbia Heights Public Schools are managing a more than 40 million annual budget wisely and in the best interests of the taxpayers.

    What is an operating budget?
    Every successful business (and make no mistake a school district is managed as a business) is a record of past decisions and spending plans. The Columbia Heights Public Schools budget shows our priorities and as a communications document, it tells our constituents, the taxpayers, about our priorities and goals.

    A school district budget can certainly be difficult to understand and even more challenging to describe, but behind the volumes of mandatory reporting forms, accounting procedures and jargon are some basic principles that can help bring clarity for those who develop school district budgets and for those who want to understand them.

    Funding (Revenues)
    The majority of our funding (revenues) come from the State of Minnesota; currently we receive 76 percent of our funding from the state. The funding from our state has increased 1.5% this past year and our expectations are that with the state's budget issues K-12 education funding will increase 1.5% in the next biennium (2015-2017).

    Nearly 15 percent comes from local taxes, which include voter approved measures. We only receive 4.9 percent from the Federal Government, which is below what was promised and what is needed to address mandated programs. A significantly smaller portion of our funding comes from investments and other local revenue.

    Invest (Expenditures)
    Appropriately, the vast majority (90 percent) of our budget is dedicated to educational support.

    Keeping sites and facilities updated is important, failure to fix or replace outdated or worn-out materials, etc., now can and normally will cost more in the future. As of 2014, we dedicate 9% percent of our budget to our sites and facilities.

    We dedicate only two percent of our budget to Administration. This figure is at or below state and national averages. Another two percent is dedicated to support staff with the balance directed to fiscal and other fixed costs programs.

    Similar to school districts throughout the nation, the majority of our expenditures go for staffing (i.e., salaries and benefits). Nearly 72% percent of our district's budget supports salaries, wages and benefits for approximately 380 employees.