Finances play an integral role in support of public education in Utah. Each school district and charter school accounting must comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), established by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). The accounting methods must be capable of producing financial reports that conform with GAAP and the legal requirements of Utah.
This section will link you to chart of accounts, prior year financial summaries of the Annual Financial Report (AFR) and Annual Program Report (APR), indirect cost rates, and other finance matters relating to public education in Utah.
Additional information can be found on the Utah State Board of Education Superintendent's Annual Report.
The AFR reports all school district and charter school financial data by fund. The General fund is the largest and records the majority of operating expenses for the operation and maintenance of education.
The AFR summarizes and totals data by school district and charter school. The AFR is compiled using Microsoft Excel. When opening a file click on ‘Enable Macros’ then click ‘Don’t Update’ to open and work with the file.
The APR reports all school district and charter school financial data by major program. (i.e. Direct Instruction, Special Education, Career Technology Education, Capital Projects, etc.) The APR summarizes and totals data by school district and charter school.
The APR is complied using Microsoft Excel. When opening a file click on ‘Enable Macros’ then click ‘Don’t Update’ to open and work with the file.
Note: If you need this information in an accessible format, contact the department directly.
This handbook is intended to help in the standardization of financial and statistical reports submitted by school districts and charter schools. The contents may be updated from time to time but the basic principles have been in place since 1979 when Utah adopted the Handbook II chart of accounts approved by the Department of Education in 1974. We continue to follow those principles and hope this compilation will assist with questions about specific portions of school budgeting, accounting, auditing and financial reporting in the State of Utah.
Chapter 3: Accounting:
Chapter 6: School Food Services:
Chapter 7: Auditing:
Financial Accounting for Local and State School Systems
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
The chart of accounts gives a school district or charter school the ability to accurately and effectively report on its financial activities and be able to compare data with other school districts or charter schools within the state. The chart of accounts, follow guidelines from Financial Accounting for Local and State School Systems, 2014 Edition, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). All school districts and charter schools are required to report to the State Board of Education using the approved chart of accounts.
The indirect cost rates for Federal and State non-restricted and restricted programs will be calculated from data obtained from the AFR and data gathered through the Utah Public Education Financial System (UPEFS) Indirect Cost Tool.
The data from a given fiscal year is used to determine the rates for the second year following; e.g., Fiscal Year (FY) 2012's data determines FY 2014's rates; FY 2013's data determines FY 2015's rates, etc.
Costs from Function 2500 (Support Services Central) are used to calculate the Restricted Rate and costs from Function 2500 and 2600 (Operation of Plant) are used to calculate the Unrestricted Rate. Property 700 and Other Costs 800 are excluded costs when calculating indirect cost rates.
Once the AFR data has been approved by the Utah State Board of Education and the district, the respective indirect cost rates as derived from the AFR will then become the approved rates to be used by the district for the forthcoming fiscal year.
It should be noted that amounts charged to Function 2500 (Support Services Central) are key factors in calculating both the non-restricted and restricted rates. In those districts where the Business Administrator performs both administrative and business functions, salary and other expenditures should be equitably apportioned between 2300 (Support Services: General Administration) and 2500 (Support Services: Central).
Typically, a school food program incurs disproportionate expenses in comparison to the other programs served by the indirect cost pool. Within all indirect costs, there may be costs directly allocable to the school food program (e.g. purchasing, accounting, warehousing, etc.). If these particular costs are determinable, it would follow that the remaining balance of indirect costs would still in some way benefit the school food program much in the same way they benefit all the other instructional programs. If a practicable division of school food/instruction indirect costs is feasible, a special school food program indirect cost rate can be calculated.
Claiming indirect costs is optional for Local Education Agencies (LEAs); however, indirect cost rates will be established for those LEAs providing sufficient data and indicating they want a rate calculated. Refer to the Utah Office of Administrative Rules R277-424: Indirect Costs for State Programs. State Special Education funding is exempt from indirect costs. Career and Technical Education (CTE), with the exception of Comprehensive Guidance, and Food Service programs are subject to the unrestricted indirect cost rate.