17 January 2006

Fussing the Budgets

The Boss Lady is going on medical leave starting on February 1. She may be gone for as little as three and as many as eight weeks. Many of the things that we as a department will be working on during that time---like upcoming budgets---have to be started now.

Elementary science isn't officially my domain yet, so I don't have to fret about that one too much. Things for secondary science---like textbooks and microscopes---are not within my part of the budget, so I just have to make appeals to others. For the dollars I do have input on, I need to write up how they will be spent next year, as well as how I could cut 5% and 10%. This isn't too bad.

The ugly part (for me) is trying to forecast through 2011 as to what the science needs will be. The district's new financial director is asking us to do this. It is understandable that we might not know all of the dollar amounts, whether or not levies will pass, federal impact dollars made available, revisions to NCLB, changes to the state requirements, and so on---but we have to at least try to outline our needs over the next five years. This kind of thinking is hard. Sure, I could be "pie in the sky" about some things, but that hardly seems worth it when I know those will be cut. What is realistic? Is there some sort of technology everyone is going to want in five years?

In other news, my district's plan to leave the consortium will not be a secret (from the consortium) for long. There is certain information we need in order to budget the costs for running our own science kit center---and they have the numbers. The Boss Lady also scheduled a tour of the center for Friday. I used to be concerned about tipping our hand on this, but now that a decision has been made, it really doesn't matter.

We're also looking at applying for some grant money and going to try a couple of other avenues to support our program.

I'll be glad when this part of the year is settled. I might not be happy with the way the monetary cookie crumbles, but at least things will be set for another year.

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