Preparing the Budget
Since most of a school’s income comes from tuition, the development of the next year’s budget begins with preparing the best and hopefully most accurate projection of next year’s enrollment at each age level.
In this process, you should show enrollment for the year before, the current year, and the year for which you are planning the new budget.
Patterns of attrition can then be discussed more objectively. Enrollment takes into consideration feeder schools, increasing interest in the school, future marketing efforts, etc.
When preparing a budget, several assumptions are made and should be written on ~ a separate sheet of paper as an explanation of each line item so that the board and administration have a clear rationale for budget changes. Let us look at the budget line by line and list the assumptions which would explain the amount on each line.
LINE ITEM AMOUNT – ASSUMPTION
Operational Income (Tuition and Fees)
Preschool – number of primary students x tuition
Elementary – number of elementary students x tuition
Junior High – number of junior high students x tuition
Extended Day – number of extended day students x tuition
After School Enrichment – number of after school enrichment fees
Application Fees – number of applications x fee
Annual Giving – number of families x average projected donation
LINE ITEM AMOUNT ASSUMPTION
Salaries Increased Cost of Living Allowance + 3%
Payroll Taxes Total gross salaries x .085
Fringe Benefits # of participating staff x $ amount of benefits
Professional Development Number of Montessori staff x $500
Faculty Financial Assistance # of staff children in school * 1/2 tuition discount
Scholarships 3% of all tuition income
Books $500~$1,000 per classroom
Supplies Consumables—$200 per child
Services Subcontracted services, as milk
Postage and printing $20 per family
Insurance increase by 10% over last year
Equipment repair and maintenance Per service contracts
Audit Per cost of audit
Mortgage Per mortgage
Utilities Increase by ~10% annually
Maintenance and Supplies Cost of living adjustment + square footage increases
Building Repairs Cost of living adjustment + projected repairs
Property tax Per tax projection if applicable
Major Repairs Per projection + 20% contingency
New Furniture and Fixtures Per projection + 10% contingency;,
New Building (Expansion) Per capital drive goal
Vehicles Per projected need
Expenses before Capital Items:
Revenues over Expenses after Capital Additions:
Budget Cycle and Tuition Payments
Rough Cut—Administrator and Treasurer (December-January)
The Administrator originates the budget for the following school year and presents it to the treasurer. Tuition raises and staff raises are projected with high, medium and low level options with the corresponding impact on the budget shown. The board reviews the budget and confirms modifications and raises. Tuition is set for the following year. At this point the principal is able to issue contracts in late February. For most schools, the fiscal year corresponds to the academic year (July to June).
Intermediate Cut—Administrator and Teachers (June)
Usually, capital expenditures and repairs are analyzed and approved late in the year by staff. This could cause some change in the budget. Also, with the end of the year totals in June, budget totals for the following year can be adjusted based on the previous year’s final information. Hiring will also factor in new variables, depending on what staff is returning
Final Cut—Administrator, Treasurer, and Board (October)
With final enrollment confirmed for the current year, and with a sense of capital needs for the year established, a final budget can be approved.
Cash Forecasting and Budgeting
Accurate cash flow projections are critical to the success of a summer program. Just because a program is expected to be profitable does not mean enough cash will be on hand to pay creditors, employees and taxes when the need arises. ln fact, growing programs often consume more cash than they generate. This is because increasingly larger amounts of cash become tied up in inventory, equipment, facilities, payroll and accounts receivable. Other directors invest their entire savings to start a new program without a sufficient cushion of cash required to pay bills when due. In either case, it is useful to think in terms of monitoring and managing cash as well as profits. A worksheet — such as the one shown on the facing page — is useful for estimating cash flows.
If you are able to anticipate possible cash drains in advance of the occurrence, several steps may be taken to avoid cash crises. For example, to increase cash in the short term, you may be able to plan ways to:
- Accelerate payments from customers, e.g., offer discounts or other incentives to customers who pay early.
- Grant credit to fewer customers.
- Eliminate or postpone purchases from suppliers.
- Negotiate extended payment terms with creditors.
- Deplete inventories of raw materials and supplies before re-ordering.
- Re-order raw materials and supplies in smaller quantities.
- Arrange for a short-term line of credit from a local lending institution.
- Sell long-overdue accounts receivable to a collection agency.
- Negotiate on a quid pro quo basis with the school
HAPPINESS IS A POSITIVE CASH FLOW