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Prescribed Format for 2014-15 Proposed BD

Letter Head: Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education

March 25, 2014
Revised March 28, 2014
Sent by electronic mail

Dear County and District Superintendents, County and District Chief Business Officials, and Charter School Administrators:

PRESCRIBED FORMAT FOR 2014–15 PROPOSED BUDGETS IN THE STANDARDIZED ACCOUNT CODE STRUCTURE

Education Code (EC) Section 52062(b)(2) requires that the public meeting at which a school district governing board adopts a local control and accountability plan (LCAP) and adopts a budget must be held after, but not on the same day as, the public meeting at which the governing board holds the required public hearings on the LCAP and the proposed budget. EC Section 52068(b)(2) imposes a similar requirement for county boards of education. This new requirement, which takes effect for budget year 2014–15, effectively eliminates a governing board’s previous prerogative to adopt a budget at the same public meeting at which the public hearing on the proposed budget is held, as was historically allowed by EC sections 42127(a)(1) and 42127(a)(2) (for districts) and sections 1620 and 1622 (for county offices of education).

Historically, many local educational agency (LEA) governing boards have met only monthly. In order to meet the new requirement this year, many LEAs must hold the public hearing on the 2014–15 proposed budget at the May 2014 meeting of the governing board because it may not be feasible, this late in the year, for some LEAs to schedule an additional meeting in advance of the June 2014 meeting at which the budget will be adopted.

EC sections 42103 and 42123 require that the proposed budget be on the forms prescribed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI). The prescribed forms for district and county offices of education budgets are normally those contained in the standardized account code structure (SACS) financial data collection software supplied by my division. There are no prescribed forms for charter school budgets.

The SACS forms become available each year in early May. This leaves those LEAs that must hold their public hearings in May this year little time to prepare their 2014–15 proposed budgets in the prescribed format. Accordingly, the format prescribed by the SPI for district and county office of education proposed budgets for 2014–15 shall be either the SACS forms, or a format that the district or county office of education produces, as long as that format:

  • Includes expenditures, cash balances, and all revenues, and an estimate of those figures, unaudited, for the preceding fiscal year in accordance with EC Section 42103.

  • Is itemized to set forth the necessary revenues and expenditures in each fund to operate the public schools as authorized by law in accordance with EC Section 42123.

The prescribed format for district and county office of education adopted budgets for 2014–15 shall be the SACS forms as usual.

To the extent practicable, the format used by LEAs that do not use the SACS forms for the 2014–15 proposed budget should resemble the format and level of detail of the SACS forms on which the LEA will present the 2014–15 budget for adoption, to ensure budget transparency at the public hearing and to minimize changes between the proposed budget and the adopted budget arising only from differences in format.

I encourage all districts and county offices of education to give careful consideration to the new public hearing requirements of EC sections 52062(b)(2) and 52068(b)(2) when establishing their governing board meeting schedules for 2014–15 and future years. It may be necessary to schedule more meetings in June than historically have been necessary in order to comply with the new requirements in the future.

If you have questions regarding this subject, please contact the Office of Financial Accountability and Information Services by phone at 916-322-1770 or by e-mail at sacsinfo@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,



Peter Foggiato, Director
School Fiscal Services Division

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