At the "budget workshop" otherwise known as the school board meeting under another name, there was some confused looks around the room when John Quinn told board members that the money indicated in the 2009-10 column of the budget is not what the district is planning to spend in 2009-10 but rather what the district was in the midst of spending this year. Quinn said this approach was standard accounting. I cannot imagine that even the New Rochelle School District would not follow standard accounting practice.
To try to understand this, I called the folks at NYSED to get clarification and they pointed me to this page
Office of Educational Management/Grants Services > Budgeting
I am not an accountant and this sort of stuff makes my head hurt so maybe some bright, motivated reader will take a look and see if they help the rest of us understand why the school district presents its budget this way.
In either case, how do we find out what we thought we were learning by reading the budget -- how much is the district going to be spending during 2009-10 on salaries and benefits (and everything else)? In my day of learning about school budgets -- reading, interviews with government officials in New Rochelle and Albany, etc. -- I came away with two initial conclusions.