School Budget Review Committee Exhibits and Applications
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Exhibits are public records, so confidentiality requirements should be observed. Exhibits are provided electronically and must include the following information:
- A single, concise cover letter covering all the requests for the hearing including:
- Executive summary of the exhibits including specific reasons for the request/s.
- Specific dollar amount requested for each request with a grand total of multiple requests.
- Identification of the name and title of the administrators and board members who will represent the district at the hearing.
- Identification of an emergency contact person with telephone number, cell phone number, and e-mail address.
- Try not to exceed one page.
- Locally developed documentation supporting the request/s. Try not to exceed five (5) pages. Include discussion of any information required or requested by the SBRC. Do not include exhibits from the websites of the Department of Education or Department of Management.
- A copy of the district's five-year financial plan if one has been developed. This is required for requests related to negative unspent balances.
- A copy of the school board minutes showing official action taken by the board authorizing the request to the SBRC prior to the hearing being requested or the application being certified.
The district/AEA shall send a copy of the complete hearing packet: cover letter, exhibits, and board minutes, as an email attachment by the due date for that hearing session. Use word or excel compatible formats for the electronic exhibits that allow for copy and paste, but do NOT use Google docs, PDF, JPEG or similar picture formats.
Send the packet to Tom Cooley, unless a different contact person is listed below.
Related Contact Information for SBRC Exhibits and Applications
The contact for At-Risk and Dropout Prevention Applications to the SBRC is Gary Schwartz.
The contact for (1) Corrective Action Plans for Negative Unspent Balances, (2) Reorganization Progress Reports, (3) SBRC application data collection, and (4) excess cost of LEP instruction application is Carla Schimelfenig.
The contact for (1) Special Education Deficit modified supplemental amount and Supplemental Aid Request or (2) Application for certified special education administrator in a separate special education district facility or for special education program in a private facility is Bill Roederer.
The contact for all Other Requests to the SBRC is Tom Cooley.
Based on historical decisions by the SBRC, the Department is providing guidance to districts on appropriate or required information to provide related to each Code subsection on which the SBRC may take action. Contact Tom Cooley for historical guidance related to your request.
Negative Unspent Balance
Incurring a negative unspent balance means that the district has spent more in the General Fund than it was legally allowed to spend; its actual expenditures exceeded its maximum authorized budget. Incurring a negative unspent balance is an illegal act on the part of the board members. Iowa Code 257.7 states that the authorized expenditures of a school district during a base year shall not exceed the lesser of the budget for that year certified under section 24.17 or the authorized budget.
Maximum authorized budget and unspent balance are terms that refer to a specified budget amount calculated through the school aid formula and are not referring to cash, fund, or bank balance. Likewise, the term "cash reserve" refers to cash or fund balance and does not relate to authorized budget or unspent balance.
- Establish a board procedure to monitor the district’s expenditures monthly compared to both the authorized budget and certified budget.
- Establish a board procedure to monitor student to staffing levels annually, prior to publishing the proposed budget, in order to reduce staff as necessary as enrollment declines.
- Ensure that the certified budget for the General Fund does not exceed the authorized budget.
- Ensure that the line item budget for the General Fund does not exceed either the authorized budget or the certified budget.
- Ensure that the unspent balance (one-time money) is not used for recurring expenditures.
- Ensure that the categorical funding within the authorized budget, including any categorical funding within the unspent balance carried forward, is budgeted exclusively on allowable costs and is not used for any general purpose uses or for cash flow. This will mean ensuring that the non-categorical expenditures in the line item budget do not exceed the non-categorical authorized budget amount.
- Ensure that expenditures are consistent with the district's five-year financial plan.
- Hold conversations regarding district viability if the cost of meeting the minimum accreditation standards begins to approach the level of the authorized budget. This will help inform planning to ensure the district neither incurs a negative unspent balance nor fails to meet minimum accreditation standards.
Negative Unspent Balance Corrective Action Plan Exhibit
The following documents will be used by a district that has incurred a negative unspent authorized budget balance. The plan should include reduction in expenditures of at least the same amount by which the district's unspent authorized budget balance was negative.
In addition to the exhibit items mentioned at the top of this page, the following templates must be completed and submitted by each district that incurred a negative unspent authorized budget balance for the most recently reported fiscal year. These documents are intended to provide a snapshot of the district’s past and proposed actions to the SBRC members. The district’s plan of correction should include reduction in expenditures of at least the same amount by which the district's unspent authorized budget balance was negative. A district that experiences a negative unspent balance should not assume the SBRC will grant a request for additional authority.
In addition to the exhibits and plan of correction, the district will attach a copy of its five-year financial plan with a description of its assumptions.
History of Notifications Regarding Unspent Balance Trends in Districts
Beginning with the fiscal year 2007-08, the SBRC directed the Department to notify any district whose unspent balance trend could result in incurring a negative unspent balance in a future year if the district did not take corrective action to reverse the trend. The modeling tool used by the Department is not a prediction that any district will incur a negative unspent balance and does not consider if the district is intentionally reducing its unspent balance. Unspent balance is one-time money and generally would not be expended on recurring costs. However, a local district may have planned to use a portion of its unspent balance for a specific large project or purchase that would not be identified as intentional in the model. The model only shows a downward trend over time in the General Fund unspent authorized budget balance. The following spreadsheet shows the history of contacts to districts regarding downward trends and identifies those that did incur a negative unspent balance.
Increased Enrollment, Open Enrollment Out, and LEP beyond 5 years of weighting
School districts that want to request modified supplemental amount from the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) for the following specific requests authorized by Iowa Code may do so on an application form. The specific requests that are included on the application form include
- increased enrollment
- open enrollment out not on the prior year's count
- limited English proficient programs beyond the five years of weightings.
The data collection, pre-populated from data reported by districts in the Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI) application, is found at the Iowa Education Portal and is due no later than December 1. Board minutes showing official action taken by the board authorizing the request to the SBRC are due prior to the certification of the application and are uploaded within the application.
Excess Costs of Providing an LEP Program
School districts that want to request modified supplemental amount from the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) for the costs in excess of weightings and other resources for providing additional instruction beyond the regular instruction to limited English proficient students may do so on an application form.
The data collection, pre-populated from data reported by districts on the Certified Annual Report (CAR) and in the Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI) application, is found at the Iowa Education Portal and is due no later than October 15. Board minutes showing official action taken by the board authorizing the request to the SBRC are due prior to the certification of the application and are uploaded within the application.