Happy New Year!!!!!
Posted Wednesday, July 5, 2006, 09:42 AM
For those of us who work in the world of education, July is a very important time of year. The same can be said of some businesses and a few government agencies, but education specifically has a very important thing that happens every year at this time. The new budget year starts.
Now, for those who do not understand why this is such a big deal, let me sum it up. As of today I start earning vacation hours again because I used them up last year. As of today I start earning sick time again after using it all up last year. In other words, today is the day I start saving up for the days that I am going to take off. I now can go to work with the peace of mind that for every hour I work, I earn a few seconds of time that I can take off.
Other important things happen during the start of the new budget year. Our supply cabinet, which looks like an empty cupboard at this time of year, will soon be restocked with essential items like pens and post-it notes. Our staff meetings will have something other than water as refreshment. And people may actually get reimbursed for expenditures they use for work related stuff. You may ask yourself why these things change because it’s a new budget year, and the answer is simple: we are a non-profit agency.
Now, no-profit is a very interesting beast. You are only allowed to make enough money each year to put away as a reserve for emergencies. In other words, you are only allowed to have banked enough money to cover the costs of your operation. Otherwise Uncle Sammy gets made at you come April 1st, and makes you pay a lot of money in taxes that you otherwise would not have had to pay. To make sure that does not happen our agency has to spend every last dime of the money we receive. Sound like an easy task?
Our funding sources range from grants for substance abuse prevention and education, all the way to peer skill development, and even include funding for family therapy and counseling. Don’t be fooled. If we get money for substance abuse, we have to prove that we spent it on substance abuse. But if we need money for office supplies, and for materials, we have to prove that they directly are linked to our substance projects in order to use that funding source. What this leads to is an office of very frustrated, edgy, sometimes manic accountants, who have to balance the budget every June. It’s a good thing we offer counseling and therapy services, other wise these people might go insane.
So July means that those accountants can take a break, the counselors can stop fighting over who will get the last marker in the cabinet, and the managers can finally take their vacation. In other words, July is a break from the end of the year madness. I’m glad it’s here.