In what has become an annual event, dozens of Dover City Schools staff, including teachers, principals, custodians, food service, aides, bus drivers and building secretaries, come together with the administration to review the financial state of the school district, also known as “Build the Budget.”

In what has become an annual event, dozens of Dover City Schools staff, including teachers, principals, custodians, food service, aides, bus drivers and building secretaries, come together with the administration to review the financial state of the school district, also known as “Build the Budget.” It is a transparent and collaborative process where staff can provide vital feedback on finances and it helps the school district set the budget priorities for the coming year.

Staff members are asked to scrutinize and evaluate every dollar. It is a process that not only keeps expenditures in check, but also helps us stretch the operating levy cycle.

Dover City Schools uses zero-based budgeting to fund the operating budget. In zero-based budgeting, every line item of the budget must be approved, and requires all budget requests to be re-evaluated thoroughly, starting from the zero-base.

Treasurer Brenda Hurst leads the conversation and shares the financial realities that face Dover City Schools, including a well-researched forecast that details both revenue and expenditure trends. A good amount of the presentation is an overview of state funding, which can be unpredictable and complex.

Also taken into account are utilities, healthcare costs, state and federally mandated programs and testing. Staff members take the information provided and have a chance to discuss each area of the budget, helping district leaders identify possible priorities, including maintaining adequate staffing levels and key programs, keeping up with technology needs, and maintaining district facilities.  

Participants are also asked to take their findings and the results of our discussions back to their peers keeping our staff engaged and informed about district finances. We take very seriously the input of the people who use our resources to provide a positive learning environment for students on a day-to-day basis. This allows the district to run as efficiently as possible. “Build the Budget” helps the school district identify needs and priorities for our operations and facilities to develop a budget that will fund programs and services that benefit students at a reasonable cost to taxpayers.