Skip To Main Content

Logo Image

Logo Title

Business Finance

Business Services oversees the overall management of the district's $155 million budget. The department collects and reports student attendance and demographic information to the State of Minnesota to procure revenue.

We also comply with state and federal reporting requirements, oversee the required yearly audit, monitor investments, and hold the annual Truth and Taxation hearing. The department also oversees finance, child nutrition and transportation, along with a multitude of other processes.

Our Business Services Department professionals are dedicated to providing efficient and effective services to support the learning environment. We are here to serve our stakeholders on all school district financial issues. 

Budget Process

Duluth Public Schools’ fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30.  Each step in the budget process requires School Board approval and is open for public inspection and comment. The process spans multiple school and calendar years; the district can be in multiple phases of the process at any given time.

Property Tax Levy – The process begins with the submission of estimated property tax levy information to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) by August. MDE sets the maximum amount each district may levy based on current legislation.

In Minnesota, schools gain revenue from two primary sources: the state's Basic Revenue Allowance and local property taxes. The county collects property taxes through a levy. These levies can take one of three forms:

  1. Levies that occur without voter approval. These would include a levy for operating capital, health & safety, leases, safe schools and others.
  2. A bond levy that requires voter approval through the referendum process. Bond levies raise money that can only be used for new construction or additions to school buildings. These funds cannot be used to run or operate schools.
  3. An operating levy that requires voter approval through the referendum process. Operating levies provide money above the state allocation to be used for operational expenses. These are the funds that it takes to run and operate schools.

Truth in Taxation Hearing – December, prior to the School Board certification of the tax levy.

Preliminary Budget Projections – Includes enrollment projections and budget forecasts, development of staffing guidelines and determination of revenue and expenditure assumptions. During this time period, the state legislature will provide information about anticipated school funding. The School Board approves any necessary adjustments to the General Fund in March.

Final Budget Approval – The School Board approves a final budget in June per state statute.

Annual Financial Report and Audit – The final step involves closing the books and preparing financial statements for the year. During this step, the district undergoes an independent audit as required by law. The audit typically takes place in October and November and the School Board reviews the audited financial report in December.

Donations and Fundraising – Business Services handles all donations and fundraisers. Monetary donations can be made in cash or check. All fundraisers must be pre-approved by the department. Staff, please submit donation requests through the Donation Google Form and fundraiser requests through the Fundraiser Google Form.


Simone Zunich

Executive Director of Business Services

Sheila Stevens

Finance Manager

Brett Mensing

Executive Assistant

Philip Paulson

Ed-Fi Analyst/MARSS Coordinator


Booster Club Guidelines

Contract Process

ALL contracts MUST come to Business Services for review and approval before your project begins.  The following is the process for all contracts.

  • Download the current contract template.
  • Complete the contract.
  • Obtain vendor(s) signatures on the contract template.
  • Obtain department supervisor, manager or director signature on the contract; this is mandatory.
  • Forward the contract to the CFO in Business Services
    • Interoffice to Business Services, UHG
  • The CFO will review the contract and notify you of any questions.  If approved, and under $100,000, the CFO will sign the contract.
    • A copy will be kept in Business Services
    • Signed originals will be returned to you
    • You are responsible for returning signed copies to vendor(s)
    • Contract will be reported to the School Board (as informational)
  • If the contract exceeds $100,000, the School Board must review and sign.
    • You may NOT start using the contract until approved by the School Board
    • The School Board meets once a month so plan accordingly
    • A copy will be kept in Business Services
    • Once approved, signed originals will be returned to you
    • You are responsible for returning signed copies to vendor(s)

NOTE:  If the contract does not have the vendor signature(s) during this process, you are responsible for acquiring a completely signed copy and forwarding to Business Services in a timely manner.