2009 Rocky Mountain Teacher Fair

Preliminary budget

It is important for an applicant group to contact their authorizer with questions about the budget format required for charter applications. The authorizer can provide developers with the Per Pupil Revenue (PPR) assumptions that they can expect to receive, cost per pupil in any critical areas such as Special Education, and any templates and/or requirements they have for their charter schools. Existing charter schools can also offer insight into specific district costs, and often provide examples of budgets. Developers are encouraged to check with high quality charters for best practices and information on lessons they have learned.

There are also several helpful documents that explain School Finance, and templates that are available on the CDE Finance Best Practice Resources page, including list of finance related websites and links. For a Financial Management Guide for Colorado Charter Schools, you can download the CDE Colorado Charter School Financial Management Guide. Also, refer to The Standard Application and The League's Quality Standards for Developing Charter Schools dcoument concerning financial categories to include in budget preparation.

Additional resources are available through charter support organizations that offer templates for use in planning. With any documents, make certain that critical areas are included such as curriculum and support, salaries and benefits, Special Education, Facilities, and any state mandated areas such as costs to the authorizer.

For example, the Cost Estimation Tool for Charter Schools document regarding Charter School Finance and Governance, is available through the National Resource Center (NRC) . The Cost Estimation Tool helps start-up charter school operators identify and estimate the range of costs and timing of expenditures they will be obligated to cover during start-up and the early years of operation. The tool provides several worksheets to help charter school operators identify basic cost assumptions (e.g., student enrollment and facilities needs) and uses those assumptions to estimate operating costs. Please keep in mind that this tool failed to include the costs associatied with student assessments.

Colorado specific budget template can be obtained (after signing a license agreement) by contacting the New School Development office at the League by clicking here.

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