Ever wonder what's most important to your government? Check out the budget! That's where government officials and policymakers work to establish funding priorities.
When do governments make their budgets? For local governments, budgeting is done in the winter and spring. Usually they establish goals and strategies in the winter, and then from there the top administrator (the county, city or town manager or school superintendent) works with staff to develop a recommended budget. The recommended budget is just that - a recommendation from the manager, with input from government departments, policymakers and data from goals, past results, community needs and other information. A big factor is how much money is available to spend on budget items.
From there, the elected officials take a look at the budget, discuss it, give the public a chance to weigh in, and discuss it some more. The city, county and town budgets are adopted, or enacted into law, by June 30 of each year.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' budget is handled a little bit the same and a little bit differently, in part because CMS is funded through other governments (as opposed to being able to ask people to pay taxes, like the county, city, state and federal governments do to get money to pay for their government services). The school district staff create a recommended budget. The school board reviews it, gets feedback from the public, and then approves the budget request. Who are they requesting money from? The county and the state. This gets complicated, because the schools have to request money before the county or state decide how much money they can spend, and how much each agency - including the schools - will get.
April Superintendent presents proposed budget to school board (view budget info here)
April -May Community meetings about budget, Board of Education (school board) work sessions about budget
May Board of Education approves budget - and then waits for the county and state budgets to be finalized before it is clear exactly how much funding CMS will receive
City of Charlotte
May City Manager presents proposed budget to city council
May-June City Council works on budget, holds public hearings and workshops
June City Council approves city budget budget
May County Manager presents proposed county budget
June County Commission approves budget
Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville
Budget process varies - usually proposed in May and approved in June
Approves a 2-year budget in every odd year (2015, 2017, etc.)
By June 30 NC House and Senate (General Assembly) create and vote on a budget, which is signed into law by the Governor
Students - get involved in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Youth Council
Make your own federal budget with People's Pie
Create a county budget Counties Work
Build NC's budget and explore state services and funding, and understand state and local expenditures with Civic Education Consortium