Clarifying misconceptions: understanding the changes in the Northern Valley school district’s budget


Photo courtesy of pixabay

Alexandra Stanivukovic and Lola Brown, Staff Writer and Features Co-Editor

The Northern Valley School District has recently faced some misconceptions and concerns regarding changes in the budget for the 2023-2024 school year. To provide clarity and address these concerns, Superintendent Mr. Santana and School Business Administrator, Mr. Capizzi have shed light on the key aspects of the budget and their impact on various departments and programs within the district.

When questioned about the misconceptions surrounding the band department’s budget, Mr. Santana and Mr. Capizzi clarified that no changes are being made to the music courses and extracurricular offerings. This statement aimed to dispel any confusion and assure students and parents that the band department will continue to receive adequate support.

Regarding other important changes in the budget for the remainder of the school year, school officials stated that there are no significant alterations that would directly impact the ongoing academic year.

“We followed our ordinary process when developing the sections for classes.  The budget cuts did not have an impact on course offerings for the 23-24 school year,” Santana said. 

The assurance from Mr. Santana allows the Northern Valley community to continue with its current plans and expectations.

The budget is a collaborative effort between the school administration and the school board where they hope to reach a balanced budget.

“The administration drafts the budget in collaboration with the board.  The primary goal in creating the annual budget was to maintain current educational, co-curricular & athletic programs while balancing increases in transportation, health benefits, and special education costs.  The district is confident that the approved 23-24 budget achieves these objectives” Santana said.

School officials refrained from speculating on how students might react to the changes. However, one notable impact on the student body lies in the non-curricular club area.

“One of the impacts on the student body will be in the non-curricular club area.   Fortunately, we were able to keep the funding in place for clubs that are directly connected to our curriculum and a few of the clubs that are not. Although funding may have been removed for the non-curricular clubs, we will still approve them for the students so they can meet and conduct club activities with appropriate supervision,” Santana said. 

According to Mr. Santana and Mr. Capizzi the changed budget resulted from significant increases in transportation, healthcare, and special education costs, which amounted to a large sum, costing the school and these departments a lot. 

“As previously stated, we experienced extreme increases in transportation, healthcare, and special education, about $2.9 million. This was above and beyond the traditional fixed cost increases. School districts have a cap on the amount they can raise property taxes, and state aid increases are minimal.  The only way to balance the budget was to cut our operating expenses,” Santana said. 

Santana explained that the majority of cuts in the budget were made in staffing through attrition, supplies, and travel expenses. The overarching goal was to protect student programs, ensuring that the impact on students remains minimal. The Northern Valley school district emphasizes that with an efficient budget, they are well-prepared to maintain their programs, investments, and address ongoing financial challenges.

By addressing common misconceptions and providing insight into the changes made in the Northern Valley School District’s budget, school officials aim to foster understanding and alleviate concerns within the community. The priority remains on protecting student programs while adapting to the financial constraints faced by the district. With careful planning and strategic budget management, the district is confident in its ability to overcome challenges and continue delivering quality education to its students.