As a result of the resolution of the McCleary decision, the state budget requires new provisions of accountability that will shape the district’s budget development process starting with the 2018-19 school year.
One of those requirements is a four-year budget outlook, called the F-195F, which requires enrollment projections. Additionally, sub-fund accounting is required to separate levy and other local dollars from state basic education dollars. While districts must establish these sub-fund accounts for the 2018-19 school year, they are not required to report sub-fund revenues and expenditures to OSPI until 2019-20.
Included in the new sub-fund accounts is sub-fund 11, which designates, under RCW 28A.150.276, expenditure of funds from local enrichment levies, levy equalization and local grants, donations or other local revenues. Allowable enrichment expenditures include:
- Extended school days or hours beyond basic education minimums
- Additional staff FTE beyond basic education prototypical funding formulas
- Additional professional development beyond state-funded professional learning days
- Extracurricular activities
- Early learning activities
- Other documented and demonstrated enrichment of state’s statutory program of basic education for which OSPI approves during pre-ballot review
Another required provision is a levy plan approval process. Districts must have OSPI-approved plans for expenditures of any general fund levy to be collected in 2020 or after, before it can appear on the ballot. If a district wants to change its levy plan, it must go through the board approval process prior to OSPI approval of any levy expenditure change.
To respond to the McCleary Supreme Court compliance order, the Legislature added more than $4 billion new gross state dollars over the last two biennium budgets. The accountability provisions of the budget follow three themes.
Accountability – The levy approval process and new accounting rules are designed to mitigate the use of local resources to create inequitable basic education opportunities between districts. These structures also will make it easier to hold the legislature accountable to provide amply and consistent state basic education funding.
Transparency – Sub-fund accounting will make it much easier for stakeholders (taxpayers, auditors, legislature, etc) to ensure that basic education costs are being funded solely by state resources and levies and other local resources are used exclusively for enrichment services.
Sustainability – Districts and locally elected school boards must show through the four-year budget outlook that current and projected expenditure commitments are sustainable.
A draft version of its plan with the addition of the accountability provisions will be shared with the board of directors on July 10, with the final plan submitted for approval on Aug. 14, 2018.