Friday, December 19, 2008

I Get Mail! How To Figure Out Your District's Cut.

To whom it may concern,

Is there an easy way to find out how much money the cuts in Gregoire's budget would cost my school district?

Thank you for any help you can offer,

Well, there's not exactly an easy way, but it can be done with only a few clicks around the OSPI website:

  1. First, click here to go to the Apportionment and Financial Services subsection of the OSPI website. There's enough data here to keep you up for days.
  2. On the side menu go to Reports ---> District Reports (or click here).
  3. In the menu, select the name of the school district tyou'd like to look at and click the "search" button.
  4. Scroll down to the 2007-2008 school year and click on the report called "F-196 All Pages." This is the yearly financial summary that the districts report to OSPI.
  5. In that report, first do a search for the number "3300." This will take you to the line item for "Local Effort Assistance" (LEA), the area I blogged about yesterday. Write down the income number they show there.
  6. Go to the very next page of the document and look for line "4166", which is the amount the state gave your district for the Student Achievement Fund (SAF), probably better known as I-728. Write down this number, too.
  7. Now you get to do some math. LEA is looking at a 33% cut, so multiply that first number by .33 to see how much your district could be in line to lose.
  8. Similarly, I-728/SAF is looking at a 24% reduction, so multiply your SAF number by .24 to see how much your district could stand to lose. Add the two together to see the total loss.
The hazard of using this method is that you're using last years reported numbers to make predictions about what could happen next year, completely skipping this year; there's a three year time span, then, and the numbers don't always play fair. For example, I think there was a bit of a bump in the I-728 money this year, which would make the potential loss greater, and the property tax valuation that impacts the LEA money is always hard to get a handle on. You could use the F-195 budget for this year, but the F-196 for the previous year is actual spending (not projected), which I think is a more solid base to work from.

I'm willing to bet, though, that the numbers you'll find in the method above are pretty close to the reality. The big districts are on the hook for the biggest cuts, sure--combined, Spokane 81 is looking at an almost $7 million dollar hit--but even a small district like Almira in Eastern Washington could stand to lose $57,000, mainly off of lost LEA money. Similarly, a really, really small district like Onion Creek (25 kids K-8) could take a $30,000 haircut.

Happy accounting!

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home