FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
BUDGET QUESTIONS 2021
1.Where did the district get funding to pay for student Chromebooks?
Chromebooks issued to students at the beginning of the 20-21 school year were from a combination of sources.350 of the devices were received through a generous grant from Intel, CDW-G and First Book.850 Chromebooks were purchased using the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, allocated to districts through the CARES Act, and the district already had roughly 400 devices on hand.
2.Does the Siuslaw School District have enough Chromebook devices for all students?
Yes, the district now owns roughly 1,600 devices and has been able to implement a 1:1 student to device ratio.
3.Does the Siuslaw School District have the future budget to continue the 1:1 device program?
Each year, the district plans to budget for a designated number of replacement Chromebooks and this expenditure is currently in the 2021-2022 proposed budget.Chromebooks have a typical lifespan of 5-6 years.The district plans to budget the appropriate amount for replacements/repairs each fiscal year to continue the 1:1 device program into the future.
4.Why was an amount budgeted or expended in prior years for a specific account line item and then nothing for the 21-22 fiscal year, or vice-versa?
From year-to-year, the needs of the district and/or funding sources change which changes the budget line-items from one year to the next.For example, in 20-21, the district anticipated nearly $1 million in revenue from the new Student Investment Account (SIA) and positions were budgeted and hired based on that allocation.The actual allocation in 20-21 was just under $400,000 which means the general fund had to support some of those newly hired positions.For the 21-22 school year, the district is set to receive the full allocation of nearly $1 million so the funding sources and account codes for those positions were shifted for the 21-22 fiscal year.
5.What is the SIA?
The SIA, or the Student Investment Account, was implemented from the Student Success Act in 2019-2020.The SIA is estimated to invest $2 billion towards Oregon education every two years.Funds are awarded by the Department of Education directly to school districts and eligible public charter schools. These funds are required to be spent for a specific purpose as outlined it the SIA and is intended to meet students’ mental and behavioral health needs and increase academic achievement, including reducing academic disparities.Oregon funds the SIA with the Corporate Activity Tax.
6.Where can I find the Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP)?
The Continuous Improvement Plans for the district and for each school can be found on the district website at the following link: Siuslaw School District
7. I was told the district recently paid off the Middle School Bond.Is there taxpayer money leftover?If there is, what is our legal responsibility in disbursing these funds? How much was leftover?
Yes, there were excess funds remaining in the Debt Service fund after the final payment of principal and interest was made in June, 2019.The district has continued to receive prior year taxes, or taxes in arrears and currently has just under $700,000 in the Debt Service fund.Oregon Statute defines how excess funds may be used and can be found here under section (3) at the following link: ORS 328.260 - Tax levy to pay interest and principal of bonds - 2020 Oregon Revised Statutes (oregonlaws.org) Section (3) states:
“The fund shall not be diverted or used for any other purpose; but if a surplus remains after all interest and principal have been paid on all serial school district bonds then outstanding and unpaid, the surplus may be transferred to such other fund as the district school board may direct.”
The Siuslaw School District Board of Directors will be asked to transfer these remaining funds from Fund 300 – Debt Service, to Fund 100 – General Fund, to be earmarked for capital improvements.This process can be completed by board resolution.
1. What is the Budget Process?
The budget is a financial plan that estimates the cost to operate district schools and programs for the next fiscal year. The district prepares its annual budget in accordance with provisions of Oregon Local Budget Law (ORS 294), which provides standard procedures for the preparation, presentation, administration and appraisal of budgets. The following links/publications provided by the Oregon State Dept. of Revenue provide information about local budgeting in Oregon.
Local Budgeting in Oregon, 150-504-400 (Rev. 1-12)
Local Budget Law, 150-504-620 (Rev. 1-03)
Local Budgeting Manual, 150-504-420 (Rev. 5-12)
The law mandates public involvement in budget preparation and public exposure of proposed programs. The law also requires that the budget be balanced, that is, projected resources must equal projected requirements in each fund.
Budget preparation takes several months and involves both building-based and central staff. Once a proposed budget is developed, the Superintendent presents it and the budget message to the Budget Committee, which then reviews the proposed budget and receives public comment. The Budget Committee recommends revisions to the budget if needed and approves a budget for School Board adoption.
The first Budget Committee meeting to review the proposed budget is generally held in April, unless an earlier meeting is required to address special circumstances. Notice of the meeting is published twice in the local newspaper, five to 30 days before each meeting date with notices separated by at least five days.
Once a document is given to the Budget Committee, citizens may view the budget reports online or can obtain a copy by calling (541) 997-2651.
2. How is the budget adopted?
At the first Budget Committee meeting, the Superintendent presents the budget message, which explains the proposed budget and identifies significant changes in district programs or financial condition. At a subsequent meeting, the Budget Committee receives public comment, makes revisions, and approves the budget. The Budget Committee may meet as many times as needed to revise and complete the budget.
After the Budget Committee approves a budget, the budget is forwarded to the School Board for further public testimony and review. A summary of the approved budget and notice of budget hearing is published once in the local newspaper, five to 30 days in advance of the hearing. The notice indicates where the complete budget document is available for inspection.
The School Board may make changes in the approved budget before or after it is adopted, but no later than June 30, the last day of the old fiscal year. There are two limitations which cannot be exceeded without publishing a revised summary of the budget and holding another budget hearing on the revisions: First, taxes needed to balance the budget may not be increased beyond what is approved by the budget committee. Second, estimated expenditures in any one fund may not be increased by more than ten percent. After the budget hearing and consideration of public testimony, the Board adopts the budget in the latter part of June.
3. What are Supplemental Budgets?
If the school district receives unanticipated revenues or a change in financial planning is required, a supplemental budget may be adopted to authorize a change in the budget within a fiscal year. A supplemental budget cannot be used to authorize a tax levy.
The School Board may adopt a supplemental budget at a regular public meeting if expenditures in the supplemental budget are less than 10 percent of the annual budget fund being adjusted. If the expenditures are more, the School Board must first publish the supplemental budget and hold a special hearing
4. Does the school district have a contingency fund?
No, the school district does not have a contingency fund, however the word contingency is used in the Audited Annual Financial Reports. Oregon Local Budget Law establishes the following legal levels of budgetary control:
Facilities Acquisition and Construction
If the district has budgeted an ending fund balance, it is classified under Contingency for budgeting purposes.
5. What is Ending Fund Balance used for?
Ending Fund Balance insures that the district has sufficient funds available to meet operational costs for the months of July-August.
6. Oregon State has been warning school districts about an increase in PERS rates for the 2013-2015 biennium. Didn't the district anticipate this increase?
The Siuslaw School District was aware of the PERS increase effective July 1, 2013. Over the past few years, the rising cost of PERS was anticipated and accounted for in the budget process to cover the rate increase in the 2013-2014 school year. Unfortunately, the district did not anticipate a loss in revenue on property tax collection for the local option levy. This loss of revenue is called "compression". To date, the district has collected $557,413 less in revenue than expected, neutralizing any future savings for the rising PERS rates.