School Finance and Budget Matters
March 9, 2010
New York State Education Department
Office of School Operations and Management Services
NOTE: The following questions and answers were discussed at on-line training sessions held on February 3 and 4, 2010 by Charles Szuberla, Jr., Coordinator, School Operations and Management Services. They are provided to offer Department guidance on these matters.
Questions and Answers
Click on a topic to view the questions for that topic.
- ARRA–Education Stabilization Funds--Appropriation, Reimbursement, Accounting and Allowable Expenses
- ARRA Title I
- ARRA IDEA
- ARRA Quarterly Reporting
- ARRA Monitoring and Auditing
- School-Level Expenditure Reporting
- Executive Budget Proposal for 2010-11
- Metropolitan Transit Authority Tax Reimbursement
- Other Questions
Appropriation, Reimbursement, Accounting and Allowable Expenses
- Based upon what Department staff mentioned about the remaining general support for Elementary and Secondary ARRA funds (about one-third remaining), will the ARRA allocations for 2010-11 for individual districts be roughly one-third the amounts allocated in 2009-10?
A: The breakout was about two-thirds of funds allocated 2009-10 and one-third to be allocated in 2010-11. Individual district amounts will vary.
- Where can I find how much Education Stabilization funds are included in each district's state aid?
A: 2009-10 Deficit Reduction Assessment Restoration (DRAR) and Supplemental Deficit Reduction Assessment Restoration (SDRAR) amounts, which are being fully restored with Education Stabilization funds, are displayed on districts’ 2009-10 General Aid Output report at: http://stateaid.nysed.gov. The amount of 2010-11 Education Stabilization funds expected to offset the Executive Budget proposed Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) is displayed on the detailed Executive Budget computer run calculating the GEA. These computer runs were mailed to each district when the Executive Budget was released.
- Does the 2009-10 enacted Supplemental Deficit Reduction Assessment Restoration actually replace other State Aid?
A: Yes. These funds will be used to fully offset the December 2009 reduction in State Aid for school district 2009-10 General Aid. 2009-10 reductions in State Aid are being offset by Federal Education Stabilization funds (ESF).
- When are the new supplemental ESF applications due?
A: The application should be available online on the NYSED business portal by the end of February and will be due by March 15, 2010. The Supplemental ESF Application for school districts must be submitted before the school district submits its ARRA quarterly report for ESF funds for the quarter ending March 31, 2010.
- Is there carryover allowed for ARRA stabilization funds? Is there a cap on the amount?
A: At the present time, there is no provision for carryover. The Department will inform school districts if legislation is enacted that allows school districts to use Education Stabilization Funds appropriated for the 2009-10 school year beyond June 30, 2010.
- If a district is allocating SDRAR funds to 50 percent of a person's salary, can reimbursement be claimed for 100 percent of that person's salary over the first 50 percent of the year?
A: That is allowable.
- If it is treated as another, separate grant, do we have to go through the online grant application outlining our budget plan, then do the financial piece, reporting quarterly and monthly to obtain payments through the submission of expenditure reports (FS-25's)? Basically, the same process as the initial grants?
A: Yes. The SDRAR will follow a very similar process to the initial application, reporting, and claims process.
- Can school districts include SDRAR funds in their F-25s before the new application is approved?
A: No, the Department must approve a district's application for the supplemental funds prior to the district submitting an FS-25 to receive reimbursement for expenditures that have occurred.
- Can the “spin up” money be claimed in 2010-11 as opposed to this school year? Do districts have the option of deferring the SDRAR revenue to the 2010-11 fiscal year?
A: The SDRAR, also referred to as “spin up”, will flow to school districts in 2009-10. Districts should apply for these funds as soon as the online application is posted. At this time it has not yet been established whether districts will be allowed to carry over any 2009-10 Education Stabilization Funds into 2010-11.
- Will a separate FS-25 be required for the SDRAR funds?
A: No. The same FS-25 form can be used to draw down both DRAR and the SDRAR funds, which together are known as Education Stabilization funds for school year 2009-10. The FS-25 forms are used by districts to claim reimbursement for allowable ARRA expenditures.
- Are the deadlines the same for the final expenditure report as for current grant funding? Specifically, will we need to process the report for 2009-10 ARRA Stabilization Funds by 9/30/10 (90 days)?
A: The process for how districts will submit the equivalent of the FS-10F is still being discussed. As districts did not file an FS-10 to initiate the budget process, they will not be filing an FS-10F as a final expenditure report. It is anticipated that the final report will be processed through the online system. Guidance will be forthcoming on this issue.
- How soon can the FS-10F be filed for ARRA, both General Fund--Education Stabilization Funds, Title I and IDEA 611? Are FS10F long forms required for all ARRA grants?
A: For ARRA Title I and IDEA 611 & 619, the FS-10F Long Form may be filed once all approved spending against the grant has been completed. The format and timeline for final expenditure reporting on the Education Stabilization Funds is forthcoming (see question above).
- If I haven't separated the appropriation in the General Fund should I do a journal entry to correct that now? I was aware of the revenue code but was not aware of a separate expense code.
A: School districts should do journal entries to segregate ARRA - ESF costs from other General Fund costs as soon as possible for both revenues and expenditures.
- When budgeting for 2010-11 should we break out the codes that will be paid through ARRA or should we break out the codes after July 1?
A: ARRA funds should be accounted for separately for 2010-11, which encompasses the period July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011. See Comptroller’s guidelines on ARRA accounting at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/releases/files/americanrecovery.pdf
- Must the DRAR funds be segregated from the SDRAR funds or can they be grouped together?
A: They can be grouped together as Education Stabilization Funds although they must be applied for separately.
- If school districts used some of the Education Stabilization Funds for textbooks, should they move those expenses out of the textbook codes within the general fund and into some other line? Won't this impact our Textbook Aid?
A: No. These expenses should be accounted for in the proper account codes within the General Fund and should be identified as "ARRA Expenses". Textbook Aid will not be affected.
- Will we be required to set up separate budget codes for ARRA similar to the C4E requirement? (I have developed a separate tracking mechanism though excel spreadsheets - is this sufficient?)
A: Separate revenue and expenditure codes must be maintained to identify ARRA funds. This should be incorporated in the school district’s accounting software rather than kept separately in Excel.
- With regard to segregating the ARRA ESF costs in the general fund, are there separate codes for those expenses?
A: The Education Stabilization Funds must be tracked in the General Fund as a Federal grant. This applies to both the DRAR and SDRAR. Districts may code expenditures to account for DRAR and SDRAR together and they will be reported together. See Comptroller’s guidelines on ARRA accounting at: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/releases/files/americanrecovery.pdf
- If SDRAR funds are used to fund a portion of a salary, can we allocate these funds to the period from September through December?
A: Funds available through the SDRAR can be used for the period of 7/1/09-6/30/10.
- Can school districts allocate salaries of positions for the period prior to application approval, i.e., if approval is in March districts can only use salaries from March - June?
A: School districts can allocate the SDRAR for allowable expenses from 7-1-09 through 6-30-10.
- To track separately, can we use an Excel sheet rather than creating new account codes, and then transferring the expenses?
A: No. Districts should create new account codes rather than tracking expenditures using Excel. Some districts have added 'ARRA' or a specific 4-digit code to the end of the expenditure's account code to distinguish ARRA from the rest of the General Fund's account code.
- Is the project number for the Supplemental Deficit Reduction Assessment Restoration going to be the same as for the DRAR?
A: Questions at the on-line sessions caused the Department to reconsider the need for separate accounting for the two pots of Education Stabilization Funds provided for the 2009-10 school year. Upon further discussion and analysis, the Department has determined that there is no reason to keep these funds separate. Therefore the Department will ask districts to have one accounting for these combined Education Stabilization Funds, and will provide for one project number and one reporting. The Department will however keep separate the application for the Supplemental Education Stabilization Funds, appropriated by Chapters 502 and 503 of the Laws of 2009.
Please note that this is a change to guidance that was stated at the February 4, 2010 on-line session.
- Can education stabilization funds be used for "permanent substitutes" in 2010-2011?
A: Education Stabilization Funds can be used for permanent substitutes if approved by the Department in the school district’s application.
- We were told BOCES purchases would be aided even when funded with ARRA. Is this correct?
A: Yes. The use of Education Stabilization Funds must be approved via the Education Stabilization Funds application. Those approved funds used to purchase BOCES services with approved COSERS are eligible expenses for claiming BOCES Aid.
- Are school bus purchases allowable?
A: No. School buses and school vehicles may not be purchased with ARRA education stabilization funds. There are some exceptions for special education transport and these will need to be approved in the IDEA ARRA application.
- Could Education Stabilization Funds be used to support a bus driver’s salary?
A: Yes, if it is was approved in the Education Stabilization Funds application.
- Could a district fund a retirement buy-out with ARRA Education Stabilization Funds so as to be able to employ younger teachers?
A: No. That is not an allowable expense.
- Can custodians be charged to the Education Stabilization Grant?
A: Custodians are allowable expenses, as approved in the district’s initial application, as their services are categorized as ongoing operations. This categorization is differentiated from maintenance or repair services, such as bus maintenance, which is not an allowable expense.
- Would the cost of custodians be considered "maintenance costs"?
A: No. They are considered operational costs and are an allowable expense for Education Stabilization Funds provided they are included in a school district’s approve application.
- If districts use the Supplemental DRAR to pay for teacher salaries, can they use salaries for the first school year or just from March-June 2010?
A: The SDRAR can be used for expenses incurred from 7/1/09-6/30/10.
- Are indirect costs allowable expenses under IDEA/Title I ARRA or ESF funding?
A: Indirect costs are not allowed under Education Stabilization Funds. Both ARRA IDEA and ARRA Title I funds are additional stimulus funds available for the purposes of the IDEA and Title I and follow the same rules that govern IDEA and Title I. For further information, contact the VESID and Title I offices in the Department.
- Will the 2009-10 SDRAR applications be done online as was the initial DRAR application? Will it go through SAMS?
A: There will be an online supplemental ESF application through the NYSED business portal for the SDRAR funds, similar to this year's original application for education stabilization funds. It will be referred to as the Supplemental ESF Application. It will not go through SAMS.
- Where can we view the amounts for the 2009-10 DRAR and SDRAR?
A: District amounts of General Aid, DRAR and SDRAR amounts proposed by the Executive can be viewed on the General Aid output report via SAMS online at http://stateaid.nysed.gov. Both the 2009-10 DRAR and the 2009-10 SDRAR will be fully restored with ARRA funds.
- Is the application available for SDRAR? Is there a separate revenue code assigned by SED as with the initial ESF?
A: It is anticipated that the online application will be available on the SED business portal by the end of February. The location on the portal will be the ARRA Reporting System, where districts submitted their applications and filed reports for the ARRA funds received last fall. The Grants Finance website: http://www.oms.nysed.gov/cafe/guidance/arrapayments.html includes the Revenue Codes and CFDA numbers for all of the stimulus funds.
- Will we need to file an FS-10 to access the Supplemental Deficit Reduction Assessment Restoration funds? We did not need to file an FS-10 for the DRAR funds.
A: No. Unlike other ARRA grant funds, the DRAR and the SDRAR funds are applied for directly on the NYSED business portal using the on-line ARRA ESF and Supplemental ESF Application process. This avoids the need to submit an FS-10.
- How are the spin-up funds handled? Do we need to submit an FS-10A and follow the initial application process for the additional funds?
A: Districts will not be using the FS-10 or the FS-10A to claim the supplemental funds. Funds will be allocated based on a process using the online application, as was done in claiming prior 2009-10 Education Stabilization funds. Payments for expenditure reimbursement should be requested using the FS-25 form.
- What is the amendment process for ARRA funds? Will we be required to file FS-10A's for the education stabilization funds? When will this guidance be available?
A: Title I and IDEA ARRA funds used the FS-10 budget process, and amendments should be made using the FS-10A. As school districts did not submit an FS-10 budget for the Education Stabilization Funds, they will not be amending the Education Stabilization Funds grant using the FS-10A. Changes should be noted in the online quarterly reports.
- The SDRAR occurred half way through the year. Therefore would a district's application require two employee jobs saved to achieve the same dollars as if this one employee job had occurred at the beginning of the school year?
A: No. The SDRAR can be used for expenses incurred from 7/1/09-6/30/10. Districts should report jobs retained and created during the reporting period. We will not correct previous quarter's data.
- If a district will not be using salaries planned because positions were not filled at the beginning of the year and would like to use the unused money for textbooks would this require an FS-10A?
A: An FS-10A is not used for Education Stabilization Funds. Districts should make note of any requested modifications through the quarterly reporting system.
- Regarding payroll certification, do districts have to have employees certify their payroll if they were paid from stabilization funds? Please provide a summary of when payment certifications are required and when they are not?
A: For IDEA and Title grants using stimulus funds, these employees would need to complete a payroll certification. Education Stabilization Funds payroll certifications are not required if 100 percent of an employee’s salary is charged to ARRA. However, if your employee is paid partly by Education Stabilization Funds and partly by other federal grants, then the Circular A-87 requirement still applies, and a payroll certification statement is required.
- If a District is using the “spin up” money for BOCES expenses, how would a school district determine the number of jobs being funded?
A: School districts should establish the number of jobs retained or created with COSERS during the reporting quarter in consultation with BOCES
- If a district is allocating SDRAR funds (i.e., ESF) to 50 percent of a person's salary, can reimbursement be claimed for 100 percent of that person's salary over the first 50 percent of the year?
A: Yes. This is allowable.
- Are there any updates as to when Title I ARRA applications will be approved?
A: Applications are mostly all approved. Some are held up due to outstanding questions, or, in the case of LEAs which are in improvement status or have schools that are in improvement status, there may be some outstanding issues that involve the regular Title I budget. Check the Grants Finance web site for the latest status: http://www.oms.nysed.gov/cafe/
- Will the Title I ARRA funding be continued for the 2010-11 school year or is the amount that has been posted the total amount for both years?
A: The second sentence on the 2009-10 Title I Allocations web page states: "The ARRA allocations listed include the full amount available for the 27 month funding period." There will be no more Title I ARRA funds available.
- Is there a waiver in place for a one-time exception to carryover more than 15 percent in ARRA Title I funds?
A: The waiver request has been sent to USDOE. A notice will be posted on the web site when the response is received: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/accountability/TitleI/
- Can Title I ARRA funds be used to fund "permanent substitutes"?
A: Yes, assuming that the initial application outlines the proposed use of the funds and was approved.
- Does the payment schedule for the 611 and 619 IDEA grants allow districts to claim payment for anticipated expenses one month prior to when they make the expenditures?
A: Yes. Please refer to the following chart for payment schedules: http://www.oms.nysed.gov/cafe/guidance/arrapayments.html
- We were rejected for anticipated expenditures on a 619 ARRA grant. Are these allowed for ARRA IDEA and ARRA Title I grants?
A: Yes. They are allowed if properly claimed. FS-25 claims may be rejected if they are not properly completed. Some agencies are still trying to claim costs anticipated for the next quarter and that is no longer allowed. See Grants Finance advisories, particularly the 6/22/09 advisory to review important information about FS-25 claiming. Also review Fiscal Guidelines. These resources are accessible from Grants Finance web site at http://www.oms.nysed.gov/cafe/.
- Please explain in more detail the new reporting regarding positions saved and created. How are reporting details changing from previous quarters?
A: There are four changes.
- ARRA grant recipients must report jobs retained or created and directly funded by ARRA. Districts may no longer report indirect jobs retained or created.
- The reporting will be for each quarter as independent entities, and are not cumulative.
- The Department will report job estimates only for approved projects.
- ARRA grant recipients will report vendors by project.
- A problem occurred when the district tried to do its last quarterly report. There was no Submit button available at the bottom of the page and our transmission never went through. Has this been resolved or did our district experience an isolated problem?
A: This problem may have occurred for different reasons. For example, if the person completing the report was not the Superintendent. Only the Superintendent has the ability to certify and submit, so if an alternate user was completing the report, he or she would not have access to the Submit button. If there are any problems submitting, contact the Educational Management Services staff at 518-474-6541.
- Can salaries be for actual salaries, not just the least senior staff?
A: Yes. School districts may use Education Stabilization Funds for jobs created or retained as identified by the district. We will implement OMB guidance issued on 12/18/09 for the reporting period ending 3/31/10 to focus reporting on jobs retained or created and directly funded by ARRA during that particular quarter.
- What is the process to amend the budget we submitted for original DRA restoration? Can I substitute or add additional things?
A: As the initial online application served as the equivalent of an FS-10 budget, changes to the application, i.e., budget, should be made through the quarterly reporting system using the narrative text box to describe modifications needed. The approval of the report will constitute approval of the modifications requested.
- Who do we contact to discuss changes to our submission?
A: Please send inquiries to the Educational Management Services main email box: email@example.com or phone 518-474-6541. Questions concerning the supplemental Education Stabilization Funds application should be directed to ARRAESF@mail.nysed.gov.
- If a district is not spending what it thought it would spend in a category reported earlier, is there any way to revise the amounts reported?
A: For Education Stabilization Funds, as there was no initial FS-10 budget, school district changes should be noted using the quarterly online reporting system (see response to question 52).
- Do districts have to collect information on jobs created/retained/funded from vendors or has this requirement been eliminated?
A: The SED must report to the Federal agency on jobs that are funded during the quarter. The Department will continue to collect data on jobs created and/or retained to best meet this requirement. Districts and other sub-recipients will continue to ask vendors for information on jobs created and retained and funded during the quarter.
- Do districts report BOCES as subcontractors?
A: Yes. For the purpose of ARRA reporting, expenditures with BOCES should be reported as vendors.
- For reporting purposes should school districts combine the amounts for DRAR and SDRAR or should they account for and report on them separately? Please clarify.
A: Districts will be allowed to account for and report on the DRAR and the SDRAR funds together (see also the response to question 22).
- Have the districts from the risk assessment list already been notified?
A: Districts identified through the risk assessment process have not been notified. If selected for audit or monitoring they will be notified prior to the initiation of the visit.
- What can you tell us about the audit process that districts will be facing from the Federal or State governments? Will all districts be audited? Will they begin after the ARRA program is over?
A: Thus far the SED Office of Audit Services has audited six districts. They anticipate auditing additional districts in Spring 2010. The process focuses on the financial management of ESF funds including allowable uses.
- Will districts need to have a single audit due to the ARRA Supplemental Education Stabilization funds?
A: Districts that receive more than $500,000 in Education Stabilization Funds and other federal funds are required to have a single audit pursuant to OMB Circular A-133.
- Because we received Title I Part A ARRA funds we need to report per pupil allocations by building. When is guidance coming out on that?
A: The Educational Management Services website has posted guidance on School-Level Expenditure Reporting. See: http://usny.nysed.gov/arra/.
- Does the Federal Restoration amount proposed for the Gap Elimination Adjustment calculation consist of only stabilization funds or is it made up of all ARRA funds that the district will receive, including IDEA etc?
A: No, the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) and federal restoration funds are addressed by Education Stabilization Funds only.
- Please explain further the "continued 2009-10 Mid-Year DRP reductions?
A: In December 2009, the Legislature and Governor enacted Chapters 502 and 503 of the Laws of 2009 and made a series of reductions in the following General Fund programs. The Executive Proposal for 2010 continues these programs at levels that incorporate these mid-year reductions. The following reductions are not restored, but carried forward into the 2010-11 school year:
- Adult Literacy Education (-$2.6 million)
- Aid to Independent Colleges and Universities (-($2.6 million)
- Aid to Public Libraries (-$6.6 million)
- Prevention of Instructor Turnover (-$2.0 million)
- Schools Under Registration Review (-$1.8 million
- SUNY Center for Autism (-$.5 million)
- Transferring Success (-$.3 million)
- Workplace Literacy (-$1.0 million
- Nonpublic Mandated Services Aid (-$1.5 million
- Summer School Special Education Program (-$48.2 million
- Private Schools for the Blind and the Deaf (4201) (-$5.8 million)
- Extended Day/School Violence (-$3.5 million)
- Charter School Development (-$.7 million)
- Liberty Partnership Program (-$1.0 million)
- HEOP (-$3.0 million)
- STEP (-$.5 million and
- CSTEP (-$.2 million)
- Please explain the calculation for the 2010-11 Gap Elimination Adjustment?
A: The Executive Budget proposes a $2.1 billion Gap Elimination Adjustment that is computed through a formula that recognizes districts' pupil need, fiscal capacity, tax effort and administrative efficiency. District reductions range from a minimum of 8 percent of their adjusted total aid (excluding Building Aid and Universal Prekindergarten Grants), to a maximum of 21 percent. In addition, the impact on high-need districts is limited to 5.0 percent of their total general fund expenditures, with an additional mitigating limit of 3.6 percent for those districts that qualify based on their level of administrative expenditures and concentration of high-need pupils. This reduction is partially offset through a $725.9 million restoration funded through ARRA. The Net Gap Elimination Adjustment after the partial restoration with ARRA ESF funds is a $1.4 billion reduction in support for school districts.
- Isn't the proposed 2010-11 GEA being covered by ARRA funds?
A: The Executive Budget proposes that statewide, approximately 34 percent of the GEA be paid from ARRA funds. Based on the GEA formula, the portion of individual districts’ GEA paid from ARRA funds may vary.
- We received two-thirds of our ARRA Stabilization funds this year, but the executive run shows our district receiving less than one-third for 2010-11. Is there a reason our total ARRA Stabilization was reduced?
A: A variety of factors were considered to determine the Gap Elimination Adjustment for school districts including school district pupil need, wealth, tax effort and administrative efficiency.
- With respect to the Foundation Aid phase in, as presented in the chart created by the Department to explain the Executive Budget, 37.5 percent of the increase from the 2006-07 Foundation Aid Base to the fully phased-in foundation formula was provided in 2007-08 and 2008-09. Please explain this.
A: Based on a study of successful school districts, the State identified an adequate amount of Foundation Aid for each school district and planned to phase in to this funding over several years. Foundation Aid was continued at 2008-09 levels in 2009-10 and aids are frozen in 2010-11 and 2011-12. The 37.5 percent represents what was phased-in by 2008-09.
- Is the amount listed on our Executive Budget proposal runs under Gap Elimination Adjustment already net of the remaining ARRA funds the state has left to allocate?
A: Yes. The line on your run that is labeled "GAP ELIMIN ADJMT + FED RESTR" is the net result of the Gap Elimination Adjustment as partially offset with the Federal Restoration.
- What does it mean to have an Administrative Efficiency Ratio less than 2 percent?
A: The Executive Proposal provides additional aid to school districts, other than the Big Five City School Districts, with an administrative efficiency ratio less than 2.00 percent. The Administrative Efficiency Ratio is computed as 2007-08 Board of Education and Central Administrative Expenses divided by Total Expenditures and is reported to the Department on the 2007-08 ST-3.
- Please elaborate on the Executive Budget proposal which would provide for no aid adjustments for changes made after the proposal. After what "date" would no changes be made?
A: The Executive Proposal provides that neither 2009-10 nor 2010-11 aid could exceed the aid amounts that appear on the Executive Budget computer runs.
- In the Executive proposal, the Governor says that school districts could use excess funds in employee benefit accrued liability reserves. How would school districts obtain approval for that?
A: The Executive proposal description states that: A school district's governing board will be permitted to authorize a withdrawal of excess funds in an employee benefits accrued liability reserve fund in order to maintain education programming during the 2010-11 school year. The amount withdrawn could not exceed the Gap Elimination Adjustment for a school district. The State Comptroller will certify that funds withdrawn are in excess of the amount required for employee benefits which are a liability against the fund.
- Is the primary reason for the SDRAR funding to reduce the amount of money the state needs to pay to school districts ? Is this just a band aid which could portent even worse news for 2010-2011?
A: Yes. The SDRAR funding offsets the impact of reductions in State funds. Funding for 2009-10 State Aid is maintained with the help of federal Education Stabilization Funds. It is expected the Federal funds will not be available in 2011-12.
- In 2011-2012, will districts experience a drop off in state aid equivalent to the 2009-10 education stabilization fund?
A: While no one can predict how funding will be allocated in 2011-12, Federal funds available as a result of ARRA and used in 2009-10 and 2010-11 will not be available in 2011-12.
- Is the Gap Elimination Adjustment supposed to be refunded to districts in the 2011-2012 school year? For instance, if our GEA is $1.2 million in 2010-11, will that be given back to us in 2011-12 so that we would be able to use those monies?
A: No. The GEA the Executive proposed for 2010-11 is expected to be partially offset by federal funds in 2010-11.
- Do you expect the need for a DRA or GEA in State Aid for 2011-12?
A: That depends on the status of the State’s revenues.
- The total funding for IDEA Section 611 ARRA for the State is supposed to be the same for 2010-11 as it was for 2009-10. Will the allocation by schools remain the same or will it be redistributed like the Stabilization Aid was?
A: The Department expects the IDEA ARRA allocations to remain the same.
- If the GEA is enacted, would schools be required to track GEA amounts restored with ARRA funds separately for 2010-11, using separate account codes?
- Won't there be a large gap in State Aid in 2011-12 as a result of making the State "whole" with ARRA in 2009-10 and 2010-11?
A: That depends on status of the State’s revenues.
- Is there any mechanism for school districts to be reimbursed for this year's MTA tax?
A: Yes. Section 3609-g of the education law provides for reimbursement for school districts, with an annual payment on, or after, June 1. That payment would reimburse each district for all MTA Tax payments made by the district between May 1 of the preceding year and May 1 of the current year. The Executive budget includes an appropriation for MTA reimbursement, for the period from September 1, 2009 (the date when the tax was first imposed on school districts) until May 1, 2010.
The State's Division of the Budget website includes the following helpful information concerning this new tax: http://publications.budget.state.ny.us/budgetFP/
The legislation with a fiscal impact, as summarized below, was approved during the regular 2009 legislative session after the enactment of the 2009-10 budget and is reflected in the Financial Plan for the first time.
MTA Payroll Tax: The Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax (Mobility Tax) is a new tax imposed on certain employers and self-employed individuals engaging in business within the metropolitan commuter transportation district, which represents the 11-county region serviced by the MTA. This tax levies a 0.34 percent assessment on total payroll costs for employers within the district including school districts and the State. The additional costs to the State include the added payroll cost for State employees and not-for-profit Mental Hygiene providers (approximately $25 million annually), as well as the planned reimbursement by the State to compensate school districts for the cost of the new tax ($185 million over the Plan period).
- When will school districts receive MTA reimbursement for the 2009-10 year?
A: On or after the first business day of June, 2010.
- Will school districts get an additional MTA reimbursement for the 2010-11 year?
A: Section 3609-g of the Education Law provides for an annual reimbursement to school districts, and includes a statement that "It is the intent of the governor to submit and the legislature to enact for each fiscal year after the two thousand nine--two thousand ten fiscal year in an annual budget bill an appropriation in the amount to be paid to school districts pursuant to this section." (§3609-g, subdivision 5)
- Given the recent news reports on the 10 percent increase in the projected State deficit and the additional MTA deficit, will the State continue the MTA Tax and not reimburse for 2010-11 or will the State cut the MTA loose and not continue the MTA Tax in 2010-11?
A: See response to question 81.
- Please clarify what would happen if we aren't eligible for Race to the Top (RTTT).
A: The New York State Education Department has learned that it is one of 16 states and the District of Columbia that are finalists for Race to the Top. Winners will be announced in April. Losers can reapply by June 1 for Round Two; the final awards will be given out in September.
- Has NYSED or the Division of Budget (DOB) received information regarding Obama's Education Jobs Bill? Any sense of the likelihood of those funds coming to fruition?
A: The Department’s Governmental Relations staff has provided the following update to the Board of Regents on the jobs bill. They note that it is difficult to predict if Congress will pass a jobs bill and if it does, what it will contain. There is significant opposition to the bills being negotiated in the Senate.
When the Senate returns, their first order of business will be consideration of a jobs bill. Unlike the House, which passed a $154 billion multi-provision bill in December, the Senate is planning to pass a number of smaller, individual bills. The first Senate bill will focus on providing businesses with incentives to hire unemployed workers. A subsequent bill is to include funding for states to retain public sector workers, including teachers and other school personnel. The House-passed bill, the Jobs for Main Street Act (HR 2847) includes $23 billion for an Education Jobs Fund to help States support an estimated 250,000 education jobs over the next two years and an additional $4.1 billion for school construction, renovation or repair. Under the Education Jobs Fund, states would allocate 95 percent of the funds to school districts and public institutions of higher education to retain or create jobs and/or to modernize, renovate, and repair public education facilities. The remaining five percent of funds would be reserved for state education-related jobs and administration of the Fund.