Advocacy Update: New York State Building Transparency Forms and Guidance
July 20th, 2018
Last week, the NYS Division of the Budget (DOB) released the form and guidance on the new requirement for districts to report annually on building level, per pupil budget allocations, based on a requirement in the 2018 enacted state budget. NYSSBA sent an Advocacy Alert to members later that same day summarizing the materials released by DOB.
DOB is soliciting questions on the form and guidance until July 25, 2018, and will use the questions to produce a "frequently asked questions" (FAQ) document by August 8, 2018. Districts that are subject to the requirement in year one will have until August 31, 2018 to submit their forms. Questions and submissions should be sent to email@example.com.
In the 2018-19 school year, this requirement will apply to any school district with at least four schools that receives a minimum 50 percent of its total revenue through state aid (as listed above). In 2019-20, this requirement will expand to all districts with at least four schools, regardless of state aid levels. In 2020-21, the requirement will apply to all districts in the state. In the event that either the Division of the Budget or the State Education Department (NYSED) determines that a district did not meet this requirement, the district's state aid increase can be withheld for the applicable year until compliance is determined by both agencies.
The reports submitted in August of 2018 will cover allocations for the upcoming 2018-19 school year.
The required information includes (but is not limited to) school-level student demographic data, information on teacher experience and funding allocations across a number of programmatic areas. The form does acknowledge that some expenses, such as capital expenditures, charter school and non-public school tuition and retiree health insurance (among others) are district level expenditures. However, some of these district level expenditures will still ultimately be divided among school buildings, while others will not. The form also includes a narrative section that calls for the explanation of funding allocations, and affords an opportunity to explain unique building circumstances or anomalies that result in building by building funding allocations that seem to vary from the district norm.
This annual report is separate and in addition to the reporting that will be required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA requires that districts report on per-pupil, building-based actual expenditures to NYSED, which will share the information with U.S. Education Department. The first year that expenditure data will be collected for is 2018-19, and that information will be collected at the end of the 2019 calendar year. NYSED is still developing the forms and guidance that will be used for that reporting, which will apply to all districts.
NYSSBA, along with our partners at NYSCOSS, strongly opposed the enactment of this additional reporting requirement. Once the process was enacted, we worked diligently to minimize the disruption and workload associated with this report.
Since every district will be required to comply with the state level requirement by 2020, all districts should familiarize themselves with the guidance now and begin to think about how these reports may be received by the community. Submissions must be posted to the district website, and will be posted on the DOB website as well.
NYSSBA is very interested in hearing feedback and questions from school districts about the form and guidance. Please feel free to share any questions or reactions with us at Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
NYSSBA's Governmental Relations team will continue to report on these and other issues. For more information, visit our Key Issues Page, and be sure to keep up with NYSSBA on Facebook and Twitter.
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