Post Budget, Summary of Expenditures, and Other Information on School Website

As school boards undertake the arduous task of adopting a budget for the 2020-21 school year, school officials should be mindful of the State School Aid Act’s reporting requirements. Within 15 days after a school district, ISD, or public school academy board adopts its annual operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year, or after a board adopts a budget revision, the school must post or provide a link to the budget on the school website’s homepage.

Schools must also post a summary of expenditures for the most recent fiscal year for which they are available. This summary of expenditures must be provided in two “visual displays.”

The first display is a chart that breaks down personnel expenses into the following categories: (1) salaries and wages; (2) employee benefit costs (including medical, dental, vision, life, disability, and long-term care benefits); (3) employee retirement benefit costs; and (4) all other personnel costs. The State School Aid Act requires each school to separately report on its website the compensation package for the superintendent and any other employee whose salary exceeds $100,000. This information must include the total salary and a description of each fringe benefit provided.

The second display is a chart that breaks down all expenses into the following categories: (1) instruction; (2) support services; (3) business and administration; and (4) operations and maintenance. Schools must also separately report the annual amount spent on association dues, as well as the annual amount spent on lobbying or lobbying services.

Additionally, the school website must provide links to the following documents:

  1. the current collective bargaining agreement for each bargaining unit;
  2. health care benefit plans (including medical, dental, vision, disability, long-term care, and any other type of health care benefits);
  3. the audit report for the most recent fiscal year;
  4. bids required in establishing a medical benefit plan;
  5. the school’s policy governing procurement of supplies, materials, and equipment;
  6. the school’s policy on reimbursable expenses; and
  7. either the school’s accounts payable check register for the most recent school fiscal year or a statement of the total amount of expenses incurred by board members or school employ­ees that were reimbursed during the most recent school fiscal year.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding state aid due to COVID-19, no executive order has suspended this statutory requirement. A failure to post budgets and other related transparency information on the school website may violate the State School Aid Act, which is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,500, or both.