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:
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.