School Budget and Funding
Funding Allocation and Accountability
School finance issues are of paramount concern to all levels of the education system national, state, district, and school. Indeed, every child’s future, as well as the future of a society in general, depends largely on the quality of the educational system. As expectations rise for students and teachers to perform at higher levels, and for schools to guarantee the success of all students, the question of how best to support this reform through the effective and efficient allocation of resources becomes even more critical. Research efforts in recent decades have helped broaden our understanding of the role of school resources in student outcomes and how their distribution and use might be improved. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how school districts allocate funds by functional area, determine the districts spending focus and if those funds are used wisely and appropriately for the defined purpose based on best practices for securing and allocating funds. Allocation of funds by Functional Areas
During an interview with the Chief Financial Officer of Duval County Schools (Jacksonville, FL), Michael Perrone, district funding allocation and accountability was discussed. According to Parrone (2013), the district is funded by a combination of Local, State and Federal money with the largest percentage from Local 32%. Sales tax is the largest income source for the State and property taxes are the largest source of revenue from local funding. Revenues that the district receives for specific activities or from the various sources are attained for certain objectives such as Food Service and Capital Outlay. These are restricted revenues. When revenue is not designated for a specific purpose, it is usually placed in the General Fund which is 61% of the total budget. The General Fund
The resources of the General Fund are used primarily for salaries ($523.0 million) and employee benefits ($163.8 million) totaling $686.8 million, or approximately 67.2% of the total estimated General Fund budget. From a functional point of view, expenditures for instruction ($644.7 million) and instructional support (pupil personnel, instructional media, curriculum development, in-service training, and instruction related technology) ($105.5 million) account for approximately 73.4% of the General Fund budget. Expenditures for Other Support Services (General Administration, Central Services, Maintenance of Plant, Community Education, Debt Service, Fiscal Services, School Board, Facilities, School Administration, Custodial and Student Transportation) account for approximately 23.8% of the General Fund budget. Transfers, Reserves and Fund Balances make up the remaining 2.8% of the Total General Fund budget.
Debt Service Fund
School districts are required to account for the payments of interest and principal on general long-term debt in the Debt Service Fund. The Debt Service budget totals $39.3 million for 2012-2013 and represents 2.4% of the District’s total budget. A total of $26.5 million is expected to be paid in principal, interest, and fee payments. The District normally maintains a level of debt service for a sinking fund.
Capital Projects Fund
The district’s current capital outlay budget is estimated at $189.8 million, 11.4% of the budget. Capital Projects Funds report the revenues, transfers, and appropriations for construction, renovation, maintenance and repair of educational facilities. Special Revenue Fund - Food Service
The Special Revenue budget for the Food Service Program totals $60.4 million for 2012-2013 and represents 3.6% of our total budget. The Food Service Program of the Duval County Public Schools is supported by Federal and State funds, and through meal charges to adults and students. The programs include the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Summer Lunch Program, the Special...