The Budget: Same Service = Cost to Continue = Baseline

Jim Zellmer, and others have taken the district to task for having a “same service” budget – alledging that nothing changes as a consequence.
But let’s clarify the use of some terms. The district uses the term “same service” to estimate the next year’s costs – the city and county do the same thing, but use the term “cost to continue.” This is not the entire process, but merely the starting place. The district and Board then make changes – both to comply with the state revenue caps and to improve our programs. We can figure what the changes will cost (or amount saved) by the difference from the same service budget.
Change and how to achieve it in a large system such as the school district is a major concern. Some changes have significant budgetary impacts, e.g. equipping schools with adequate computers (and the infrastructure to support this), reducing class sizes in the primary grades.
However, the one of the most far-reaching changes needed is to change what is occurring in the classroom. This change is brought about through intensive staff development – and is aided by smaller class sizes, but once the district budget includes funding for staff development and for smaller classes the critical factor is not the budget for these but how the funds are used.