APS – Textbooks FY13 Budget for Real or “Just for Show”?

As shown in the table below, for FY11 and FY12, the initial budgets for textbooks were well below the level that ultimately was spent. In each of the prior years, the initial under-budgeting amounted to 49.1% and 40.0%, respectively. It appears the same is likely the case for the FY13 Approved Budget which provides $4.0 million for textbooks. However, if we simply apply the same cost per student incurred in FY11 and FY12 for textbooks, the current budget is likely understated by $1.7 to$2.5 million, or 42.0-63.6%. Why is this consistently the case from year to year? The analysis is quite simple, but the Board only makes corrections with subsequent budget amendments that increase spending. Why not attempt to make a reasonable estimate in the first place?  The Board of Education passed the FY13 Budget with the full support of the Budget Committee. The consistent under-budgeting for textbooks could not have escaped notice in the process. I think this represents a good test of the Boards commitment to the FY13 Budget spending parameters. When it comes time to amend the FY13 Budget for the underfunding of textbooks, will they offset the spending increase with spending reductions in other areas? Or was the initial FY13 Budget for textbooks just a number for “show” with no meaning? We will see.

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