WASHINGTON STATE SCHOOL DISTRICT ACCOUNTING CODES 8

by Shirley Basarab

(206) 246-4664

Understanding your school district's budget is easier than you think. At first glance, the system of reporting seems like a foreign language, nearly overwhelming. But after reading this pamphlet, an understanding of the basics emerges, soon becoming second nature. The key is in the district's budget coding system, which is precise and clear.

All official Washington State school district budgets use similar codes. To understand them, all one needs to know is: What is the question? What code represents that information? Where will that be in the budget? With the code information, numbers can be tracked from year-to-year, revenue-to-expenditure, or program-to-program.

Before you start, be aware that you will be one of few people who understand it. Typically, only school district budget directors comprehend it. Seldom do the board members or even other administrators figure it out.

By understanding just a few codes, and requesting all informa-tion include them, deciphering budgets will be clear. For non-typical codes, other than the 'Basic Dozen,' look the information up on a code sheet, available (by law) from each district. (Turn to the last page for the simplified break-down for reference.)

Obviously, to number-crunchers, this brochure will seem simplistic. But to accounting number-neophytes, it's essential to get a grasp of it.

Sample: "0131-21-230-81"

What to do next?
You first need to request three documents from your school district:

1. Their F-196 ('actual expenditures') for the previous year;

2. Their F-195 (budget) for the current or next year;

3. Their accounting codes, a breakdown by Program, Activity, Object, and Location.

'Citizen budgets' seldom include the code numbers needed and do not allow tracking from year-to-year. Once you have them, read on.

Each Part Tells Something Different

Account codes are broken into four parts, although you will probably only deal with one or two parts at a time.

Open your local school district's documents. Pick any expense item from the budget (F-195) or actuals (F-196) that interests you.

As you read this bro-chure, refer to the sample code above and compare it to your budget. Before you finish, it should make sense.


ACCOUNTING CODES

Washington State school district accounting codes consist of 11 numbers for each expenditure.

To understand these codes, picture a rubric cube. The 'Programs' go across from side-to-side, the 'Activities' drive down from top-to-bottom, and the 'Objects' drill through from front-to-back. Each time an 'Activity,' 'Program,' or 'Object' is pulled out, it crosses through the other two groups.

As in the sample at the top, each expenditure inc-ludes four parts: a four-digit number, a two-digit number, a three-digit number, and ends (occasionally) with two-digits.

The first four digits rep-resent the 'Program,' the next two represent the 'Activity,' the next three are the 'Object,' and the last two are 'Location,' or school site.

The first four digits ("0131-") of the sample are the 'Program' code.

Of these, the first two of these four numbers desig-nates the program for which the funds were to be spent.

For instance, were they for Basic Education, Special Education, Voca-tional Education, Support Services (i.e.: librarians, teacher aides, books, etc.), District-wide Support (i.e.: administration, mainten-ance, utilities, etc.), Food, or Transportation (i.e.: buses)?

The second two of these four digits determine a further break-down of the 'Program.' The most used are:

* "0130-," which designates Elementary and

* "0131-," meaning Secondary (Middle, Junior High, or High School).

The second part ("-21-") of the sample is called the 'Activity' code.

This part defines for what purpose ('Activity') the funds were used within a 'Program.'

The 'Activity' code designates purposes such as teaching, teaching sup-port, utilities, books, insur-ance, management, food, utilities, buses, supplies, principals, administration, maintenance, etc.

The third part of the sample ("-230-") is called the 'Object' code.

The 'Object' code also further defines the program and/or 'Activity' of the expen-diture, further classifying how the money was allocated.

For instance, was it for interest, a certificated em-ployee (one with a teaching certificate), a classified emp-loyee (one with no teaching certificate), an employee's benefits, supplies, materi-als, contracted services (such as contractor, lawyer or utilities), travel, or capital outlay?

The last part ("-81") is the 'Location' code.

This is seldom found in public documents. It desig-nates the site (building) at which the money was spent, such as a specific school, an administrative building, etc. You will not find this code in the F-195 or F-196.

By sorting for various parts of a code, different costs are generated showing the administration, teaching, etc.

Sample: "0131-21-230-81"


Program Codes

The last two digits of these first-four-numbers details more specific information on how the money is spent. Two of the "01~~-" Program codes, where the majority of public school money is typically, spent are:

"0130-" Elementary Teaching and

"0131-" Secondary Teaching.

For example:

In Code #"0131-21-230-81,"

"01~~-" designates Basic Education, and

"~~31-" means at a Secondary (Middle, Junior High or High School) level.

Of particular interest are programs:

"94" and "97."

Program "94~~" expenses represent Instructional Support for services to students (such as teachers' aides, principals, psychologists, nurses, and their supervision).

Program "97~~" covers District-wide Support (such as the school board and legal fees, the superintendent's office, all buildings' maintenance, operations, busi-ness office, utilities, security and insur-ance).

Funds (revenue/income) for these expense codes are often generated in other programs, such as "01~~".

(The 'Basic Dozen' Program codes are marked with an '*' on the last page.)


Following is a description of how to deciphereach code.

PROGRAM EXPENDITURE CODES:

The first number of the first four-digit section of a code tells under which 'Program' it belongs.

This is often all you need and, unless you want more specifics, knowing a few of these is enough to help you quickly understand these budgets.

For example, any code beginning with:

"0~~~" belongs to Basic Education

"2~~~"signifies Special Education (handicapped)

"3~~~" means Vocational Education, etc.

"4~~~" is Occupational Education, etc.

"5~~~" includes various Special Programs

"6~~~" includes various Special Programs

"7~~~" includes various Special Programs

"8~~~" means Community Services (daycare, etc.)

"9~~~" belongs to Other, such as:

"92~~" is Debt Service (interest)

"94~~" is Teaching Support (principals, librarians, books, etc.)

"97~~" is District-wide Support (administration, utilities, etc.)

"98~~" means Food Services (student lunches)

"99~~" means Transportation (Buses)

The second digit (as in "99") of these first four 'Program' code numbers represents further breakdowns of a 'Program' category.

The last two digits of these first-four-numbers details more specific information on how the money is spent. Two of the "01~~-" program codes (where most public school money is spent) are:

"0130-" (Elementary Teaching) and

"0131-" (Secondary Teaching).

For example:

In Code #"0131-21-230-81,"

"01~~-" designates Basic Education, and

"~~31-" means at the Secondary (Middle, Junior High or High School) level.

Of special interest are programs:


"94" and "97."

Program "94~~" expenses represent Instructional Support for services to students (i.e. teachers' aides, principals, psychologists, nurses, and their supervision).

Program "97~~" covers District-wide Support (such as the school board, the superintendent's office, building maintenance, operations, business office, utilities, security and insurance).

Funds (revenue/income) for these expense codes are often generated in another program, such as "01~~".

(The "Basic Dozen" Program Codes are marked with an * on the last page.)


ACTIVITY CODES

If you have the Basic Dozen program Codes figured out, then you can go on to the next set of two-digit accounting code numbers, which describe the activity for which the money was spent.

Activity Codes are simplified by knowing that if the first of these two digits is:

"-1~-" it's Administration, or if it is

"-2~-" it's Instruction.

If it's anything else, look it up on your district's code sheet.

The most common Activity Codes used under

"-2~-" (Instruction) are:

"-21-" (Instructional Supervision)

"-23-" (Principals)

"-27-" (Teaching)

If the second of these two-digits Activity Codes is "-~1-," it is non-teaching activities, such as Supervision. Examples of these are:

"-21-" (Supervision of Instruction)

"-41-" (Supervision of Food Services)

"-61-" (Supervision of Transportation)

Therefore, the Activity Code for the School Board is:

"-11-., or Supervision of Administration..

In the example "0131-21-230-81," the

"-21-" means Supervision of Teaching .

OBJECT CODES

The next three accounting code numbers designate the object for which the money was spent. These numbers begin with:

"-2~~-" for employees with state certificates (Certificated)

"-3~~-" for employees without certificates (Classified)

"-4~~-" for all Employees' Benefits

"-5~~-" for Supplies and Materials

"-6~~-" for Instructional Materials

"-7~~-" for services Contracted out (i.e. utilities, attorneys)

"-8~~-" for Travel

"-9~~-" for Capital Outlay

Others? You got it! Look 'em up on your code sheet. An example could be -203-, which could be a Certificated Administrator (Principal). For the sample "0131-21-230-81," the "-230-" means a Certificated Teacher.

LOCATION CODES

The last two numbers (which citizens seldom see) represent the location (Building) at which the money was spent. Most documents do not include this part of the code. Many districts use the following breakdowns (with exceptions!):

"-01" through "-29" may be Elementary Schools

"-51" through "-59" may designate Middle Schools

"-71" through "-80" may designate High Schools

"-80" through "-99" may be Administrative Sites

"-00" means undesignated

CONCLUSION

For the sample, then, "0131-21-230-81" would mean an expenditure for:

Program:

Basic Education (01~~-)

at Middle or High School level (~~31-)

Activity:

for Administrators (-21-)

Object:

who are Certificated Employees (-230-)

Location:

at an Administrative Building (-81).

By "searching" databases and "totaling" for a specific Program / Activity / Object / Location Code, districts can provide cost breakdowns.

REVENUE CODES

The last set of codes to decipher are the four-digit revenue codes. The first two digits designate the source of the money.

For example, any number beginning with the number:

"1~~~" comes from Local Taxes (i.e.: levy money).

"2~~~" from Local Nontax (i.e.: tuition, lunches, & interest).

"3~~~" is State, General Purpose (i.e.: BEA for students enrolled).

"4~~~" is State, Special Purpose (i.e.: special ed & buses).

"5~~~" is Federal, General Purpose (i.e.: Federal Forest $).

"6~~~" is Federal, Specific Purpose (i.e.: Food & Indian Ed).

"7~~~" payments from other School Districts for their students.

"8~~~" is from Misc. Grants.

"9~~~" Other (i.e.: long-term financing, $ transfers, & misc.).


The last two digits of the Income Codes often correspond to the Program Codes that generate the money. For instance, if a number ends in:

"~~00" is for the Basic Ed Program Code "0~~~"

"~~21" is for Special Ed Program codes "21~~"

"~~31: is for Vocational Ed Program codes "31~~," etc.

Thus, revenue codes:

#3131 would be State, General Purpose income for Vocational Education;

#2298 would be Local Non-Tax income from school lunches; and

#4199 would mean State, Special Purpose income for bus transportation.


(Note: In some documents, a district will include Vocational Education's revenue (Programs "3~~~") and Occupational Skills Centers' revenue (Program "45~~") in the Basic Ed revenue (Program "~~00"), instead of the specific program. This obscures the pot, so it's easier to move money around without accountability.)

Since "Indirect" expenses (non-instructional such as administrative) generate no income, they have no revenue codes. Thus, there are no Revenue numbers ending in (Program Codes) "~~94" or "~~97".)

For further information on revenue, its sources, and amounts, ask your district for their F-203 document. It lists the Source Codes and amounts of anticipated revenue for the year.

Finally, near the end of a fiscal year, districts may publish a "Budget Extension" to update the original Budget (F-195). This allows them to reallocate funds that will be / were spent in areas different than originally budgeted. An extension is required if any budget is over/under more than 10%.

At the end of a fiscal year, districts also publishes a Financial Statement, PLUS their actual expenditures (F-196). From these, and other information submitted to the state, various reports are compiled and published by the Superintendent of Public Instruction's office (SPI) in Olympia, comparing all Washington State districts and are available on request.

There is more, such as construction funds, bus funds, etc., but that's it for the basics.

Although codes change from year to year in any given district and between districts, the basics don't. A copy of these changes is available from your local school district .

Washington State School District Accounting Code breakdown for Government-Accounting Number-Neophytes (although some may be slightly different in your district): * Basic dozen to know.

* 01~~- Basic Education (Basic Ed)

0130- Elementary (Kindergarten through 6th grade)

0131- Secondary (Middle/High School)

* 21~~- Special Ed 24~~- Sp. Ed, Federal

* 31~~- Vocational Ed 38~~- Voc Ed, Federal

* 45~~- Occupational Skills Center 46~~- OSC, Federal

* 51~~through -79~~- Special Federal/State programs (i.e.:)

51~~- Chapter 1

55~~- Learning Assistance Program (LAP)

58~~- Misc. Grants/Programs

65~~- English as a Second Language Tutors

68~~- Indian Education

69~~- ECEAP

71~~- Driver's Education

73~~- Summer School

74~~- Highly Capable

75~~- Special State Enhancements

76~~- Chapter II

77~~- Math/Science

79~~- Misc. Programs and/or Grants

* 88~~- Preschools

* 89~~- Community Relations

* 92~~- Debt Service

* 94~~- Support services (i.e.: Aides, some Administration, Health, Building budgets, Utilities (All Buildings)

* 97~~- District-wide support

9701- School Board

9702- Personnel Department

9703- Community Relations

9704- Business Department

9705- Maintenance

9706- Operations

9707- Major Maintenance

9708- Administration

9709- Security

* 98~~- Food Services (Breakfasts & Hot Lunches)
* 99~~- Pupil Transportation (Buses)

* Basic dozen 'Program' codes to know.

Washington State school district accounting code breakdown for Government-Account-ing Number-Neophytes (although some may be slightly different in your district):

* 01~~- Basic Education (Basic Ed)

0130- Elementary (Kindergarten through 6th grade)

0131- Secondary (Middle/High School)


* 21~~- Special Education (24~~- Sp. Ed, Federal)


* 31~~- Vocational Edducation (38~~- Voc Ed, Federal)


* 51~~through -79~~- Special Federal/State programs (i.e.:)

51~~- Chapter 1

55~~- Learning Assistance Program (LAP)

58~~- Misc. Grants/Programs

65~~- English as a Second Language Tutors

68~~- Indian Education

69~~- ECEAP

71~~- Driver's Education

73~~- Summer School

74~~- Highly Capable

75~~- Special State Enhancements

76~~- Chapter II

77~~- Math/Science

79~~- Misc. Programs and/or Grants

* 88~~- Preschools

* 89~~- Community Relations

* 92~~- Debt Service

* 94~~- District-wide Support Services (i.e.: Principals, Class-Aides, Librarians, Health)

* 97~~- District-wide support

9701- School Board

9702- Personnel Department

9703- Community Relations

9704- Business Department

9705- Maintenance

9706- Operations

9707- Major Maintenance

9708- Administration

9709- Security

* 98~~- Food Services (Breakfasts & Hot Lunches)

* 99~~- Pupil Transportation (Buses)

Sample: "0131-21-230-81"

ACTIVITY CODES

If you have the basics of the 'Program' codes figured out, then go on to the next set, two-digit accounting numbers, which describe the 'Activity' for which the money was spent.
'Activity' codes are simplified by knowing that if the first one of these two digits is:

"-1~-" it's Administration, or if it is

"-2~-" it's Instruction.

If it's anything else, look it up on your district's code sheet.

The most common 'Activity' codes used under "-2~-" (Instruction) are:

"-21-" (Instructional Supervision)

"-23-" (Principals)

"-27-" (Teaching)

If the second of these two-digit 'Activity' codes is "-~1-," it is a non-teaching 'Activity', usually Supervision. Examples of these are:

"-21-" (Instruction Supervision)

"-41-" (Food Services Supervision)

"-61-" (Transportation Supervision)

Therefore, the 'Activity' code for the School Board is:

"-11-", or Administration's Supervision.

In the example "0131-21-230-81," the

"-21-" means Supervision of Teaching .

OBJECT CODES

The next three accounting code numbers designate the object for which the money was spent. These numbers begin with:

"-2~~-" for Certificated employees (one with state certification)

"-3~~-" for Classified employees (one without certification)

"-4~~-" for all Employees' Benefits

"-5~~-" for Supplies and Materials

"-6~~-" for Instructional Materials

"-7~~-" for services Contracted out (i.e. utilities, contractors, attorneys)

"-8~~-" for Travel

"-9~~-" for Capital Outlay

For the sample "0131-21-230-81," the "-230-" means a Certificated Teacher. Others? You got it! Look 'em up on your district's code sheet.

LOCATION CODES

The last two numbers (which citizens seldom see) represent the location (building) at which the money was spent. Most documents do not include this part of the code. Many districts use the following breakdowns (with exceptions!):

"-01" through "-29" may be Elementary

"-51" through "-59" may be Middle Schools

"-71" through "-80" may be High Schools

"-80" through "-99" may be Administration

"-00" means Undesignated


CONCLUSION

For the sample used in this brochure, then, "0131-21-230-81" would mean an expenditure for:

'Program:'

Basic Education (01~~-) at Middle or High School level (~~31-)

'Activity:' for Administrators (-21-)

'Object:' who are Certificated Employees (-230-)

'Location:' at an Administrative Building (-81).

By 'searching' databases and 'totaling' for a specific Program / Activity / Object / Location codes, districts can determine cost breakdowns.

'Indirect' expenses (non-instructional such as administration) generate little income. Districts are not required to report this income separately, so they show no 'Revenue' codes. Thus, there are no 'Revenue' codes ending in 'Program' codes "~~94" or "~~97." However, this information is available in the district's form F-203.

There is more, such as construction funds, bus funds, etc., but that's it for the basics.

Additional information

Near the end of a fiscal year (July), districts may publish a 'Budget Extension' to update the original Budget (F-195). This allows them to reallocate funds that were/will be spent in areas different than originally budgeted. An extension is required if any budget varies more than 10-percent from the budget, or if the actual total spent exceeds their budgeted total.

After a fiscal year, districts also publish a 'Financial Statement,' PLUS their actual expenditures (F-196). From these, and other information submitted to the state, various reports are compiled and published by the Superintendent of Public Instruction's office in Olympia, comparing all Washington State districts. These are available on request.

Although codes change from year-to-year in any given district and between districts, the basics don't. A copy of these changes is available from your local school district .

REVENUE CODES


The last set of codes to decipher are four-digit 'Revenue' codes, not previously mention-ed. The first two digits designate the source of the money. For example, any number beginning with the number:

"1~~~" comes from Local Taxes (i.e.: the levy).

"2~~~" comes from Local Nontax (i.e.: tuition, lunches, and interest).

"3~~~" is State, General Purpose (called BEA) (i.e.: state funds for students enrolled).

"4~~~" is State, Special Purpose (i.e.: special education and buses).

"5~~~" is Federal, General Purpose (i.e.: federal forest money).

"6~~~" is Federal, Specific Purpose (i.e.: food, commodities and Indian-Ed).

"7~~~" is payment from Other School Districts.

"8~~~" is from Misc. Grants.

"9~~~" Other (i.e.: long-term financing, fund transfers, and misc.).

The last two digits of these income codes often correspond to the 'Program' codes that generate the money. For instance, if a number ends in:

'~~00' is for the Basic Ed 'Program' code

'~~21' is for Special Ed 'Program' code "21~~"

'~~31' is for Vocational Ed 'Program' code '31~~,' etc.

Thus, revenue codes:

#3131 would be State, General Purpose income for Vocational Education;

#2298 would be Local Non-Tax income from School Lunches; and

#4199 would mean State, Special Purpose income for Bus Transportation.