Email, Tracy Ginsburg, Ed.D., executive director, Texas Association of School Business Officials, Sept. 9, 2014
...The issue with using $12,106 as the cost per student (which includes public and charter schools) reflected at TEA Actual Financial Data is that that Total Disbursements actually includes items which are not expenses and other items which are, in effect, double counted.
School Districts and Charter Schools account for expenditures by fund, function and object code. On the attached report, TEA has identified costs for the General Operating Fund and also for All Funds of the District. All funds of the District includes Special Revenue Funds which are local, state, and federal funds restricted for specific purposes (i.e. Title I), as well as, Debt Service, Capital Projects, and Internal Service Funds. Debt Service and Capital Projects funds reflect voter approved bond projects and I would not consider those costs in conjunction with an analysis of the annual operating costs of school districts, not to mention the issue of double counting of expenditures for debt principal and interest and the expenditures for capital projects that were also reflected.
TEA has identified Total Operating Expenditures for specific functions and object codes 6100-6400 to account for the on-going costs of the district which in my opinion is a more appropriate reflection of the costs per student. The Total Operating Expenditures for All Funds of $8,327 per student closely relates to the NEA estimate and other generally recognized sources of public education financial information and include expenses for the salary and benefits of employees of the District, the purchase of supplies and materials, utilities, etc.
This number removes items which should not be considered an ongoing expense of the District including
· the repayment of debt service and capital outlay associated with constructing or renovating facilities;
· the payment of Chapter 41 liabilities to the State (these funds are transferred to other districts through the funding formula and are reflected as a cost of instruction at that time by the receiving districts);
· transfers of funds to other governmental entities such as the payment of tuition to neighboring districts by districts which only serve grades K-8 (the costs of instruction are reflected by the receiving District);
· Appraisal District fees required by statute; and,
· accounting entries for bond refinancing which are necessary to provide a complete accounting trail for bonds when new debt instruments are issued; and, to reflect the savings realized by a District when bonds are sold at a discount.
Tracy Ginsburg, Ed.D.
Texas Association of School Business Officials