Budget Analysis and General District Information

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To adequately fulfill the capacities of an appointed school board member, acquiring basic and specific information regarding several aspects of the school district is crucial for the successful execution of the position and for positive collaboration with the board members. Information relating to accounting, enrollment, and hiring protocols are fundamental for the realization of a school board member. Some vital components such individuals must learn include general accounting protocols regarding budget planning. Also, the responsibilities of the superintendent, as well as the other members of the school board are important to the execution of a budget design. While other school districts might differ in general accounting principles, this paper will state the procedures the Phoenix Union High School District utilizes to produce a well-designed budget and expenditure report, general calculations for projected enrollment, and potential staff requisitions. This is where budgeting for new-hires is critical. Due to either workload or insufficient pay, current teachers may lean on the possibility of a teachers' strike.

General Accounting Practices and Budget Responsibilities

The Phoenix Union High School District follows general accounting practices that have resulted in positive compliance with governmental auditing. Financial statements involving “governmental, proprietary, and fiduciary funds” are accounted for by utilizing “the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting (Purchasing Department, 2012, p.6).” Tentative and projected revenues are typically not recorded, except when they have been cleared and accounted for as tangible funds. The same principle is applied with expenses, where its projections are not noted until the actual liabilities occur. Such practices take precedence over cash flow. An example of revenue is property taxes, which are acknowledged and recorded in the year they are imposed, as oppose to recording it as projected revenue. The method utilized to communicate governmental funds is “the current financial resources measurement focus and the modified accrual basis of accounting (Purchasing Department, 2012, p.6).” Should governmental revenues be received within 60 days, the Phoenix Union High School District acknowledges all of the revenue included in the governmental funds as tangible and available. The financial resources measurement focus and the modified governmental funds acknowledge funds once they are tangible and available to utilize.

Once the Governing Board provides the Superintendent with a budget proposal, the Superintendent is responsible for expensing the balance of the liabilities for goods and services within the following sixty days. Thereafter, the balance remaining would be utilized as a reduction of District taxes for the following budget year. Some of the estimated revenues include the “state aid, federal revenue, and primary and secondary tax levy (Purchasing Department, 2012, p.6).” Furthermore, some of the budgeted expenditures are “unrestricted capital outlay fund, soft capital allocation, and bond funds (Purchasing Department, 2012, p.7; Governing Board, 2001, pp. 1).” In preparation for auditing, several procedures should be followed. Primarily, the general objective of financial statements must be compliant with the auditing standards and the GAS. Some of the reports required during the auditing include “financial statements, schedule of expenditures of federal awards, a summary schedule of prior auditing findings, a report on internal control over financial reporting and on compliance, a report on compliance with requirements applicable to each major program and internal control over compliance in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-133, a schedule of findings and questioned costs, and a corrective action plan (Purchasing Department, 2012, p.9). Such reports must be completed and submitted prior to the stated deadline.

Coordination and Balance of Budget Funds and Budget Timeline

Phoenix Union High School District divides its public education funding budget into several programs. The categories and their total budgeted amount are included in the following statements. Regular education ( $104,965,878), special education ($34,360,817),pupil transportation ($,9491,382), desegregation ($54,443,542), prevention ($2,249,000), drop-out prevention ($2,249,000), instructional programs ($2,676,777), fund capital override ($6,002,319), unrestricted capital ($11,853,682), fund soft capital ($2,994,484), construction ($205,000,000), and construction technology, with a total budgeted amount of $50,103,725 (Governing Board, 2012, pp. 1-9).” The balance for each category is categorized by stating the “budget, YTD expense, unexpected balance amount, unexpected balance percentage, and prior unexpected balance percentage (Governing Board, 2012, pp. 1-9).” The unexpected balance amount is acquired by calculating the difference between the budget and the YTD expense.

For instance, the budget of $36,272,674 deducted from the YTD expense of $16,741,646 for the instruction-function 1000 salaries in the regular education programs category under the Budget vs Expenditures through December 2012 sheet results in $19,531,028, which is the unexpected balance amount. Calculations are continued by dividing the unexpected balance amount ($19, 531,028) by the budget ($36, 272, 674), which results in an unexpected balance percentage of 53.85 percent. The district school’s tax rates were calculated in August 2012 for the fiscal year of 2014. Schools that wish to take part in the National School Lunch Program should include projected expenditures prior to May 15 (Governing Board, 2013, p.19). Additionally, if the Phoenix Union High School District has not included expenses required for state matching, such districts should include expenses for food services prior to May 15 (Governing Board, 2013, p.19). By June 2013, the actual cash balance for the M&O fund should be revised and submitted.

Enrollment Projections and Considerations of Staff Requisition

Enrollment for Phoenix Union High School District has varied throughout its history. According to the Assistant Superintendent, Nora Gutierrez, in the year 2012, student enrollment projections were surpassed by 2.8 percent in more than three decades (Worthington, 2013). An increase of at least 100 students was calculated in several schools within the district (Worthington, 2013). Due to a gradual increase of 5,500 students throughout the past 15 years, enrollment projections in the Phoenix Union High School District are expected to be surpassed due to the new families in the surrounding areas. Enrollment projections are based on three prediction methods, such as cohort-survival method, statistical forecasting procedure, and a ratio calculation. The cohort method indicated students who passed their current grade level (Pettibone, 1990, p.1). The resulting number is averaged throughout the course of five years to obtain the “grade progression ratio” (Pettibone, 1990, p.1). Contrarily, the simple method extracts each grade level’s the ratio of the past two years. The result of this calculation is the expected enrollment for future years.

Enrolling new staff requires its own protocol as well. Applicants are considered for employment based on several factors relating to the position of interest. The job application requirements are categorized by administrative, certified, classified, certified in-district, and coaching opportunities (Human Resources, 2014). Additionally, opportunities for guest substitute teachers are made available through the school district’s website. Classified positions require applicants to respond to a series of questions throughout the application process. With regard to certified positions, applicants must provide the required documents.

Conclusion

This analysis stated protocol utilized by the Phoenix Union High School District to produce a well-designed budget and expenditure report. Methods of projected enrollment calculations were stated. Additionally, examples of how calculations were executed in the Budget versus Expenditure spreadsheet were provided. The analysis provided in this paper was crucial to adequately fulfill the capacities of an appointed school board member; thus, it included information relating to accounting, enrollment, and hiring protocols.

References

Governing Board. (2003). Arizona Department of Education. Phoenix: Governing Board.

Governing Board. (2012). Phoenix Union High School District. Phoenix: Governing Board.

Governing Board. (2013). State of Arizona School District Annual Expenditure Budget Districtwide Budget. Phoenix: Governing Board.

Human Resources. (n.d.). / Employment. Retrieved February 20, 2014, from http://www.phxhs.k12.az.us/Page/208

Pettibone, T., & Bushan, L. (1990). School District Enrollment Projections: A Comparison of Three Methods. Eric, -(-), 1.

Purchasing Department. (2012). Phoenix Union High School District No. 210. Phoenix: Phoenix Union High School District.

Worthington, D. (2013, October 3). Phoenix high-school district enrolls 27,000 students for first time in more than 35 years. Downtown Devil. Retrieved February 20, 2014, from http://downtowndevil.com/2013/10/03/48555/phoenix-union-high-school-district-enrollment-increase/