Avoiding the JETTY is more stressful than usual at budget times as local officials from the mayor’s office or town manager’s office to the staff of the school, especially in districts where there is growth in students and programs that do not equal an increase in staff. Educators seem to always be able to make the situation work even when the odds look dim. Often the budget that begins at the school level with staff following some thoughts from the Superintendent attempt to try to make certain that the needs of the schools are met, especially in terms of future growth and goals to be achieved.
Staffing for the school or all schools becomes a pivotal issue as the needs of the district are crucial, which brings school business administrators to join with the superintendent and assistant superintendent in more meetings than there is time in a day to work out a plan for the year ahead. Remember that you are already in the middle of the existing school year with one eye on the balance of accounts and the other on the projected and expected city/town budget allocation for education. If one thinks this is easy, ask any superintendent.
While the superintendent is supposed to know “everything” about all, I will give you a clue that this is not always the case, as there is never a year when something doesn’t happen to impact the budget that “comes out of the blue” as they say. How often have you heard the expression that we need “to find the funds” with the superintendent thinking “I am not a magician” but having to reallocate funds from one part of the budget to the “crisis of the moment” just has to happen.
There are just no easy answers for several budget questions, as almost everything that reaches your desk is important. If it wasn’t, your desk would be clear. Finally, I will add that I would smile more as superintendent when all budget deliberations were over, even for a short period of time.
JETTY defined as a pier or structure of stones, piles or the like, projecting into the sea or other body of water to protect a harbor and deflect the current.