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KIPP’s 2012-2013 budget leaves little room for error

KIPP’s board of directors met Thursday, June 21, to approve the budget for the 2012-2013 school year. With only a 1-percent budget surplus expected, increased revenues from fundraising, including $400,000 from new donors and $2.1 million in philanthropic gifts, will be crucial.

“I’m vehemently opposed to balancing a budget on the backs of fundraisers; it’s not a good idea,” Alan Philipson, a finance committee member, said.

Though fundraising goals for the upcoming year are high, KIPP’s Chief Financial Officer Mike Dunn says some strategies have been planned in case their goals are not met. KIPP’s $600,000 class trip fund will be used as a reserve in case donations run short. Additionally, the amount of federal money the board expects to receive was estimated conservatively in hopes that extra funds will be made available.

Still, KIPP’s budget “doesn’t leave a lot of room for error,” Dunn said.

KIPP’s $36 million budget includes an expected enrollment overall of about 3,200 students, an increase of 800 from last school year. The addition of so many students may help to offset some costs.

For example, an improved bussing plan is expected to save between $600,000- $700,000 this year.

In this year’s budget, KIPP officials plan to spread  fundraising dollars across all KIPP schools so that no schools will operate at a loss. The board discussed finding more long-term sources of fundraising to eliminate some of the stress in the coming years. Currently, there is an expected dependence of $1,000 per student on non-recurring revenues.

Academically, KIPP’s board made amendments to the code of conduct and plans to approve the changes after hearing comments from school leaders. Next year, all expulsions will go through the Recovery School District’s Student Hearing Office. This move aligns KIPP’s handbook more closely with RSD’s approved practices. The board of directors will only be involved for appeals hearings.

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