The School Committee's most significant fiscal responsibility is the review and approval of the District operating budget for each fiscal year, and the presentation of the budget at the Town Meetings. The School Committee may also present a capital budget for separate approval by Town Meeting.
The budget process usually begins in the autumn of each school year, when the Superintendent and Central Office staff send out guidelines for expenditures in each category for each school in the District. Each school or department then submits a budget request to the Central Office staff, where it is reviewed and then presented to the School Committee. Committee members are given an opportunity to review these budgets with principals and/or regional department leaders, usually at extra meetings scheduled for this purpose in January and early February each year. The Acton-Boxborough Regional School District budget must be voted and assessments for each town set at least 45 days in advance of the first Town Meeting, which is currently the Acton Town Meeting, held starting the first Monday in April. Once voted, Regional District assessments can only be lowered. Once voted at Town Meeting, the District budget establishes the funding available for expenditures in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1 following the Town Meetings.
At quarterly School Committee meetings, the committee receives an update showing the funds budgeted, spent, and remaining or each category of expenditure for the current fiscal year. The committee also votes to accept or reject all bids for goods and services to be contracted by the District, as recommended by the Superintendent. In addition, the committee must approve payroll and expense warrants, which list all money to be spent in a given period of time with the name and address of the recipient, the budget category line item charged with the expense, and the amount paid.
The final decision on the school budget is made when citizens vote the assessments at the Acton and Boxborough Town Meetings in April and May.
Proposed Budget (Voted 2-12-15)