Budget Terminology

  • These terms may be useful in understanding the SPPS budget. If there are additional terms you would like to see defined here, please contact us.


    1. May refer to the management of budgets necessary to support operations, policy and staff at the district, school or program level.
    2. May refer to higher level district staff, such as the board, the superintendent, department heads and school principals.

    The amount of money provided for a specific purpose, for example salary or benefits.

    Appropriation is how the legislative body authorizes the use of a specific amount of money for a government-funded program.  It is different from authorization because it attaches real dollars to the action.

    Balanced Budget
    When a budget is balanced, the expected income and expenses add up to zero. An unbalanced budget can result in schools or programs not getting the funding they need to achieve their goals, even if the money is available. It can also result in a deficit, where more money has been spent than was available.

    This is a best guess of how funds will be spent over a specific time. Expenses are categorized according to purpose, such as personnel, benefits, fees for services, supplies, etc.  There is a budget for the district as a whole, but there are also individual budgets for departments, schools, programs and grants.

    Districtwide Support
    Refers to budgets that provide support to all areas of SPPS. For example, Technology Services are provided at all sites and may be unified under one budget.

    Fiscal Responsibility
    The obligation to manage district, school and program funds according to the law and district policy.

    Full Time Equivalent (FTE)
    This is a unit that indicates the workload of an employee. An FTE of 1.0 means that the person is a full-time employee, while an FTE of 0.5 signals that the employee is budgeted half-time. Staffing accounts for a significant percentage of the SPPS budget, and FTE reports are closely monitored for accuracy.

    Obligated Funds
    These are funds that have been set aside for a specific purpose (in SPPS we often say they are encumbered).

    School Service Support
    Refers to program budgets that provide direct support services to schools. For example Nutrition Services provides breakfast and lunch at schools, but does not provide service to non-school sites.

Last Modified on February 19, 2020