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 15. Budget and Finance


Public education in Georgia is funded from three primary sources: local ad valorem taxation, state government financing, and funds coming from the federal government. Supplementing these basic sources are lottery funds, sales taxes, tuition payments from students and other various funds from a variety of resources. When funds run short despite these sources, local boards of education have the option of long term financing for certain capital projects through general obligation bonds approved by the voters or short term financing to cover the expenses of the year through tax anticipation notes.

Local boards of education are responsible for the control and management of the school system and one of the most important tools to accomplish this control and management is the adoption of a budget for the school district. The fiscal year for school districts in Georgia is from July 1 to June 30.1 Prior to July 1, the board of education should adopt a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Since the development of a budget for the entire school system can take several months, it is not unusual for work to begin in January on the budget to be approved by July. No task is more important for a superintendent and staff than the development of a budget to recommend to a local board. Most local board members view the budget approval process as their primary responsibility. Certainly, since the budget determines the millage to be set and levied and, thus, the taxes to be paid by the property owners of the school district, no decision has any greater political consequences for board members and superintendents. This chapter will look at issues of funding, financing and budgeting.

15. 1 What is the major source of local funding for public schools?
15. 2 What is a mill and how is its value determined?
15. 3 What is the relationship between the local board of education and the county commission, the levying authority, when it comes to setting millage rates?
15. 4 What is the relationship between the board of education of an independent city school district and the city council or governing authority with regard to the establishing of a budget and the setting of a millage rate?
15. 5 How is the amount of state funds to be sent to each school system determined?
15. 6 Are all state funds derived from this QBE formula?
15. 7 What is the local five mill share?
15. 8 Does money raised through the state lottery benefit local school systems?
15. 9 How do local school systems receive money from the federal government?
15. 10 What is the process a board of education must follow in passing a budget?
15. 11 What happens if the board of education cannot pass a budget by July 1?
15. 12 Are local school councils allowed to participate in the budget-making process?
15. 13 What additional notice does the local board have to provide to the public to complete the budget process?
15. 14 What is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights and how does it affect the setting of a millage rate by a local board?
15. 15 What happens if the State Board of Education does not approve a local school board’s budget?
15. 16 Are there limits on the permissible purposes for which a local board of education may spend money?
15. 17 Once the board of education has appropriated a given amount of money for a particular purpose or line item in the budget, how much discretion does the superintendent have to spend this money?
15. 18 What is the procedure a school district must follow to borrow money?
15. 19 How does the local board review the financial status of individual school accounts?
15. 20 Can a local board of education establish a trust?
15. 21 How often does the financial accounts of a school district get audited and by whom?
15. 22 What steps must be taken if an audit reveals some irregularity?
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