The school budget represents the educational program of a school community translated into dollar need (expenditures). The budget covers a calendar year, January 1st to December 31st.
Local Approval: After a public hearing not later than seven (7) days before final action. The time and place of the hearing must have been properly announced as a part of the publication of the budget in local newspapers. Two such publications must be made at specific times.
State Review and Approval: Final review and approval of school budgets is conducted by the Department of Local Government Finance.
Six budgeted school funds
GENERAL FUND: The General Fund is used to budget and account for all receipts and expenditures for current operational purposes, except pupil transportation. Expenditures from this fund may be made for items normally associated with the daily operation of school, such as salaries, benefits, utilities, supplies, etc.
DEBT SERVICE FUND: The Debt Service Fund is used to budget and account for receipts and expenditures necessary to meet annual, long-term obligations of a school corporation. Expenditures from this fund may be used to make bond and/or lease rental payments, repay loans made for the purchase of school buses, and state construction loan repayments. Interest on loans taken for the purpose of any other fund can be paid from this fund. For taxation purposes, this fund is only used when long-term debt actually exists.
CAPITAL PROJECTS FUND: The Capital Projects Fund was established by the 1987 General Assembly. The Capital Projects Fund may be used for the following: land acquisition and development; fees for professional services; educational specification development; building acquisition; construction and improvements; rental of buildings and equipment; purchase of mobile or fixed equipment; maintenance of equipment; salaries of computer repair personnel; and salaries and benefits of skilled trades employees (if total cost exceeds $600,000 per year).
TRANSPORTATION FUNDS: The Transportation Fund was established by the 1979 General Assembly. This fund is used for all operating costs related to pupil transportation, plus the purchase of school buses. In 2001 the fund was split into two funds, a Transportation Operating Fund and a Bus Replacement Fund.
REFERENDUM FUND: The Referendum Fund was established in 2011 and will expire at the end of 2017. The Referendum Fund provides increased funds for operating expenses.
Practically all public school revenues are derived directly or indirectly from some taxing vehicle. Dollars for state support to local public schools are appropriated by the General Assembly from the General Fund of the state. Revenues to the state’s General Fund include monies generated by sales and use taxes, the individual income tax, and corporate income taxes. These three (3) taxes account for more than 85% of the total revenue to the state’s General Fund.
Locally, various forms of taxation are utilized to generate monies for schools and for civic units of government. The local taxes are charged, collected, and provided to the governmental units in a more direct way than state revenues. Examples of local taxes charged include the property tax, license excise tax, and financial institution tax. Other sources of income are non-taxed items including receipts from transfer tuition, property sales, gifts, contributions, and earnings from investments.
PROPERTY TAX: The property tax represents the largest local revenue generator for governmental units. The tax is charged against real and personal property. Locally elected assessors determine property valuations utilizing appraisal guides prescribed by the Department of Local Government Finance.
LICENSE EXCISE TAX: Vehicles are taxed locally at the time of annual license plate registration. Revenues from this tax are divided in each taxing district, in the proportion of a particular fund tax rate, to the total of all taxing unit tax rates in the taxing district.
FINANCIAL INSTITUTION TAX: This is a tax on the personal property of banks.
Property Tax Limitations
A property tax levy limit exists for the Transportation Operating Fund. A rate limit exists for the Capital Projects Fund. The Debt Service Fund levy and rate must provide enough revenue to meet the annual debt payments of the school corporation. The Transportation Operating Fund is limited to the average increase in assessed value during the prior three (3) years.