As the school year begins, district administrators often begin the first steps in the budget process for the next fiscal year. Superintendents and other educational program officials may begin reviewing and projecting educational program needs, while district business officials will attempt to draft a preliminary forecast of state and local revenues for the coming year based on available data and projections. As noted earlier, this process can occur as many as nine months before the school board approves the new fiscal year budget. At this stage, budget projections are tenuous, since the amount of the district’s foundation grant and the district’s state aid membership for the coming year will not be known for more than six months.

The Bullock Creek School District in Midland County begins its budget process as early as September by creating a preliminary budget forecast for key personnel to review. This forecast includes both best-case and worst-case scenarios, and as Graphic 27 on the next page shows, the district’s best-case scenario in November 2006 for fiscal 2008 included an adjusted deficit of $67,881.[376]