Overview of Annual Budget Timelines and Standard Terminology
Dates required for the preliminary budget are available in the Act 1 Timelines.
Generally, a proposed version must be prepared at least 20 days before adoption (110 days prior to the primary election); this work-in-progress budget, defined as the proposed preliminary budget, must be made available for public inspection no later than 20 days prior to adoption of the preliminary budget.
Public notice of the intent to adopt the preliminary budget must be published no later than 10 days before adoption (100 days prior to the primary election).
Note: An alternate process exists under SS Act 1 of 2006. A Board may adopt (via Board vote) a resolution indicating that it will not raise the rate of any tax for the support of public schools for the following fiscal year by more than its index. No less than 110 days prior to the primary election, a Board must submit a copy of the resolution and a schedule of the proposed tax rates to PDE via the Consolidated Financial Reporting System, General Fund Budget (CFRS-GFB). A Board that adopts a resolution through this process does not need to comply with the preliminary budget requirements and need only follow the procedures outlined in section 312 of SS Act 1 and section 687 of the School Code for the adoption of both its proposed final budget and its final budget.
The final budget must be adopted (via Board vote) by June 30.
A proposed version must be prepared and adopted (via Board vote) no later than May 31 (at least 30 days before adoption); this work-in-progress budget, defined as the proposed final budget, must be made available for public inspection no later than June 10 (20 days before adoption on 6/30).
Public notice of the intent to adopt the final budget must be published no later than June 20 (10 days before adoption on 6/30).
Note 1: For the adopted preliminary budget to become the proposed final budget, the school board must take action. School districts should ask their solicitors to determine what constitutes board "action."
Note 2: The real estate tax rate adopted with the final budget may be raised above the rate that was adopted on both the preliminary and proposed final budgets.
The ability to increase tax rates at final budget adoption must be in conjunction with allowable tax rates based on the school district's index, approved referendum exceptions and voter approval. CFRS-GFB must always be used to determine the maximum allowable tax rate based on the above factors.
Within CFRS-GFB, page C-2 of the real estate tax rate report (RETR) calculates both the tax rate and revenue in excess of the school district's index. It is imperative that this information be reviewed prior to final adoption of the budget to ensure adoption of a tax rate within all pre-approved limits.
The terms 'preliminary' and 'tentative' have traditionally been used by school districts to describe the proposed version of a final budget. Because SS Act 1 specifically uses the term 'preliminary' to describe the budget to be adopted 90 days before the primary election, the term proposed should be used instead of preliminary to define the "working budget" that is 1) prepared at least 30 days in advance of adoption and 2) provided for public inspection no less than 20 days prior to adoption.
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