Budget 101

School districts must adopt a budget for each school year. Budgeted expenditures range from salaries, benefits, transportation, facilities, special education, and administration. The budget is divided between multiple fund balances. The Fund balance is the difference between assets and liabilities and represents the spendable (tangible) and non-spendable (intangible) resources available to meet future obligations.

Each fund balance has a specific purpose in the budget.

What are the types of typical fund balances?

  • Restricted fund balances: These are restricted funds to be spent for a specific purpose. The constraints on these amounts must be externally imposed by creditors, grantors, contributors or laws or regulations of other governments; or by enabling legislation.
  • Committed fund balances: These are funds that can only be used for specific purposes. Once the item is committed, it cannot be used for any other purpose unless changed by the same procedures used to initially constrain the money.
  • Assigned fund balances: These funds reflect the intent for use for a specific purpose as determined and authorized by a committee of the governing board or superintendent. Unlike committed fund balances, assigned fund balances can be changed without formal action and do not need to be designated by the board.
  • Unassigned Fund Balances: These are funds that have not been designated for a specific use or purpose and have not been categorized as restricted, committed, or assigned. This portion of the fund balance is commonly used to finance monthly operating expenditures during low-revenue months, state funding delays, or to cover unexpected expenditures.

When working the budget the projected revenues from state, federal, and local sources are calculated. Over the past decade, mandated costs for special education, charter tuition, and pension reimbursement without adequate state or federal funding. This is the primary driver for property tax increases across the state. Per state law, school districts with an annual budget over $19 million, such as Blackhawk, are not allowed to increase taxes if the unassigned fund balance is 8% or greater.

Because of the importance of maintaining a healthy unassigned fund balance for cash flow and other unforeseen expenditures, Blackhawk SD Policy 620 directs the district to strive for an unassigned fund balance between 5 and 8 percent.

Source of state funding delay risk:


Budget Deficit/Overspending

Did you know that the district is operating at a deficit of nearly $2 million for the 2023-2024 school year? The 2023/2024 budget was approved by the current board majority, including Gwen DeLuca and John Battaglia, with a $2 million deficit and plan to cover this shortfall with funds from the Unallocated Fund Reserve (Savings Account). This is a dangerous and irresponsible practice that could deplete this fund in two years.

  • Blackhawk’s spending on legal fees has doubled in the past two years due to the litigious nature of our current board majority ($125,000+ this year).
  • Blackhawk spent $288,000 on substitute nurses in the 22-23 school year due to the inability to hire and retain the required health staff for our special needs students.

Better Blackhawk is committed to fiscal responsibility and finding strategies to better manage our expenditures