Since many of the budget line items are based on student enrollment, this budget format is considered to be a flexible budget. The costs of providing instructors and associated benefits is fixed by the state with regard to the ratio of students to teachers, and students per classroom (which is more a function of fire codes and building codes, but it is still a determinant with regard to budget flexibility). The expenses associated with the school facility are fixed and generally cannot deviate in response to increases or decreases in enrollment. Personnel and plant costs are two major items in the school budget, and neither provides options for flexibility. That said, much of the proposed budget is based on student enrollment scenarios -- of which there are three at 120 students, 100 students, and 66 students. As we will see in the response to question #5 below, the budget scenario constructed for student enrollment at 66 students is not viable since the breakeven point is 77 students. As this figure can be determined in advance -- given the appropriate figures or estimates -- a more functional budget would have provided a third scenario, perhaps in the range of 150 students, should the school plant be capable of handling a student body that size.
(2) What is total revenue (excluding grants) per student?
The per student revenue less grant funding is $6,063.06
(3) What are total expenses per student?
The per student expenses are based in part on the number of students enrolled in the charter school. For an enrollment of 120 students, the expenses total $4,518.00, for 100 students, $5,283.00, and for 66 students, $7,646.00. These figures reflect an economy of scale that is based on the regulated fixed costs (Hermanson, et al., 2011). In other words, budget accommodations cannot be made for half of a classroom, or a third of a general Internet charge. Although it is possible to adjust the budget with part-time teaching staff, it is not possible to hold full-day classes with only part-time staff, even if a combination of staff members can represent a full-time equivalent (FTE) on paper.
(4) Do all expenses seem necessary?
Given that this operation is a charter school, an educational enterprise that relies on meeting certain standards of quality, meeting state and federal requirement, and on its general reputation, there do not seem to be any current expenses that can be eliminated. It might be possible to postpone the technology enhancements, but we don't have access to the budget justification that would provide more detail to indicate whether this is possible or recommended. In addition, activities such as grass removal might be optional or could be addressed with parent, student, and booster club volunteers -- but for a charter school that is launching, this is not likely to be as well-received as if the school had been a going enterprise for some time with a loyal body of enthusiastic supporters.
(5) Is this school viable? How many students does the school need to break even (show your calculations with analysis and state your assumptions for break-even)?
(Note: For break even analysis -- Ignore revenue received as "Grants" and "Startup Costs" (Schedule A).
The school does appear to be capable of conducting a viable enterprise, as long as student enrollment stays at about 100 students or so. If enrollment figures drop to 66 students, the school will be operating in the red (-$29,492). The primary issue with breakeven analysis in the public school sector is that certain fixed costs are under regulatory control and cannot be adjusted (Richards, 2013).
Breakeven Point = Fixed Costs/(Unit Selling Price - Variable Unit Cost)
Fixed Costs = $458,937 @120; $458,917 @100; $458,
Unit Selling Price (revenue received per student per enrollment) = $6,688@120; $6,813 @ 100; $7,
Variable Unit Cost = $483,460 @120; $69,550 @100; $45,
Breakeven Point = $458,937 / ($6,688 - $694.50) = 76.57 or 77 units
Unit Contribution Margin = Sales Price - Variable Costs
Sales Price = = $6,688@120; $6,813 @ 100; $7,
Variable Costs (per student unit) = $694.50
Unit Contribution Margin = $6,688 -- $694.50 = $5,993.50
(6) What are the general benefits of preparing this budget?
This budget format provides a fundamental understanding of the relationship…