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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

'Tis the Season...

In April, May and June, governments will be creating and finalizing their budgets for the coming year. Part of this process involves publicizing possible budget cuts and additions, and hearing from the public about those options and decisions. This is a helpful process in many ways. It is also a good learning opportunity for K-12 students, including:
  • Local, state and federal government
  • Roles of citizens and leaders
  • Impacts of policies and decisions
  • Civic engagement
  • Economics
  • Effective communication
  • Reading informational text and public documents
  • Writing (response, argument, persuasion and more)
  • Presenting information
  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking

What happens when?
The CMS budget will be introduced on April 12. The School Board will approve it on May 10. A public hearing will be held April 26. Between April 12 and May 10, citizens can contact the school board about the budget and offer opinions, suggestions and solutions.

The County budget will be introduced on May 17. The Commissioners will hear from the public after that, and then approve the budget before July 1. The county budget includes funding for schools, parks, libraries and other services.

The Charlotte budget will be introduced on May 9. The public may contact city officials through May and early June. A public hearing will be held on May 23. The budget will be approved on June 13. The city budget includes funding for roads, neighborhoods, public transit, police and other items.

Town budgets are usually created and approved in the months of May and June. Each town has a different process and meeting schedule. Information is posted below. Town budgets include monies for public safety, town roads and other items.

The North Carolina budget process began in January. The General Assembly has been debating budget options, with the House and Senate working to reach agreement. The Governor signs the budget into law by July 1. The state funds many things including schools, roads and services for citizens.

The Federal budget process takes many months. Here is an interactive presentation about it.

General information
General budget information including calendars
Talking to officials
More information to be posted, including learning opportunities aligned to NCSCOS in social studies and language arts

City of Charlotte
Budget info
City of Charlotte presentation and website
Budget information for city, towns and county
Contact city officials 

Mecklenburg towns
Cornelius presentation and website
Davidson presentation and website
Huntersville presentation and website
Matthews presentation and website
Mint Hill presentation and website
Pineville presentation and website
Budget information for city, towns and county
Talking to officials  

Mecklenburg County
Budget information
County presentation (contact Kids Voting for editable version)
Commissioner budget priorities
List of budget categories and information about mandated services (what county must do)
Contact county officials

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Budget information
Presentation (contact Kids Voting for editable version)
Contact school board

North Carolina
Budget information
Balance the Budget Challenge
General Assembly reports
Contact legislators

United States
FY 2012
Budget Hero
Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget
Contact Congress

Teachers: Let us know what you are interested in learning about, resources you are looking for, etc.