Eagle County School District publishes budget book online | VailDaily.com

Eagle County School District publishes budget book online

Now community members can quickly and easily navigate and interact with the district’s budget

In an effort to increase transparency, the Eagle County School District recently completed a project to put its budget online in an easy-to-navigate format.

“Our goal has always been to be as transparent in our financial reporting as possible,” said Sandy Farrell, the school district’s chief operating officer. “Utilizing this interactive software allows us to take another huge step in that direction.”

At the Jan. 11 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Philip Qualman described the budget book as a 45-pound “monster” when printed out and a document that is “not easy to navigate” and “not user friendly.” 

Now, in the new online format supported by ClearGov, “it provides quick, interactive and direct access to specific information,” Farrell said.

The budget book is now available on the school district’s website and allows users a chance to navigate not only to specific district funds, but also find information on its organizational and governance policies, Colorado school funding, student enrollment, performance frameworks and more.

Support Local Journalism

Qualman said that the advantage is “letting our community know that we’re good stewards with their dollars.”

A screenshot of the Eagle County School District’s digitized budget book. Now, anyone can easily navigate the district’s funds as well as find information on its policies, practices and funding model.
Courtesy image

The majority — around 71% — of the local district’s funding comes from the Colorado School Finance Act. For the current 2022-23 school year, the act allocated $10,029.39 per pupil in funding, a $732.25 increase from the previous year. Based on the annual October 2022 count of students the district has 5,949 K-12 students enrolled this year. However, the per-pupil funding is based not on the exact count but on the average count over the past 5 years.

The remaining of the district’s funding comes from mill levy overrides (19%) as well as a state ownership tax (2%) and other state, federal (from the Secure Rural Schools program), and local sources (such as student fees, charter-purchased services, tuition, interest and more).

In a revised budget for the 2022-23 school year — which the school board will be asked to review and approve at its Wednesday, Jan. 25 meeting — the total revenue for the district’s current year is projected at $93.87 million and its expenditures and transfers at $96.87 million.

The majority — around 80% — of the school’s budgeted expenditures go toward its staff’s salaries and benefits. In the revised budget, there is $55.74 million budgeted for staff salaries, $69,149 above its adopted budget, and $22.8 million is budgeted for benefits, $599 above its adopted budget.

While Farrell acknowledged that the district doesn’t get many inquiries from the public around its budget, it still felt it was important to put it online in this format.

“That does not affect our mindset to make sure the information is readily and easily available to all,” she added.

In addition to maintaining this mindset, Farrell said the move is “another demonstration of how and why our business services (and) finance department continues to set a high bar in our industry winning financial awards for their best practices in reporting numerous times over the years.”

Specifically, the district’s finance team has received budget awards for seven consecutive years from both the Government Finance Officers Association and the Association of School Business Officials.

To view the district’s digitized budget book, visit EagleSchools.net and navigate to the finance department’s section of the website.

Support Local Journalism