There are discussions state-wide regarding how much of the public k-12 funding is spent ‘in the classroom’. School districts have not explained this very well as our believe has always been – well all of it. Each expenditure we make is with the student or teacher in mind. Are dollars spent on buses, bus drivers and fuel spend in the classroom – technically no. But those dollars definitely contribute to delivering students to and from school safely and on time. The same can be said of other areas of district spending – whether it is nutrition services, or our counseling or nursing services, or even the cost of operating lights, heating and air conditioning – those are not considered classroom costs yet are vital to the daily operation of a classroom.
The first chart below lists how Goddard USD 265’s budget dollars are spent by the various functional areas as defined in the Kansas Accounting Handbook. This chart is based on the district’s actual total dollars spent in 2017-18. It excludes construction costs paid from bond funds and regular budget transfers; otherwise includes spending from all other funds. As you hover over each section of the chart a brief description of what is spent there will appear – a more detailed description of all functional areas is included at the bottom of this page.
The numbers in the above chart are impacted by the amount of debt the district carries. As a rapidly growing suburban district Goddard USD 265, with the approval of its voters, has issued significant amounts of debt over the past 15 years in order to construct new buildings and add on or renovate existing spaces. Statewide the average debt service for districts is 10% of total expenditures, as you can see in the chart the Goddard district debt service exceeds 17%. This impacts the dollars available in all other areas.
As debt service related to our bond construction is fully funded through the combination of a separate mill levy and state aid we are providing a second chart the excludes debt service. This provides a better indication of where the district’s operational dollars are spent.
- Instruction (49%) – activities dealing directly with the interaction between teachers and students. Interestingly this does not have to occur in a classroom, could be related to a co-curricular activity (sport, musical/instrumental performance or play, for instance), or be provided at a home or hospital for homebound services. Spending in this area is limited to instructional teacher salaries, teacher substitute pay, classroom para’s, and any supplies directly related to the class or co-curricular activity. Equipment specifically related to the classroom can also be charged here – for instance student desks or technology.
Some examples of expenditures that clearly benefit the student in the classroom that are not considered instruction under this definition include the electricity or natural gas to light, heat or cool the room, the cleaning, maintenance, renovation or construction of the classroom, or the cost of insuring the building that houses the classroom or the equipment in the classroom.
- Support – Students (3%) – activities designed to assess and improve the well-being of students and supplement the teaching process. For our district this includes salaries for guidance counselors along with their support staff and supplies and nurses and their supplies.
- Support – Instructional (2%) – activities associated with assisting the instructional staff in planning, developing, and evaluating the process for providing learning experiences for students. For Goddard USD 265 this includes the costs associated with our curriculum department along with our Librarians and any library para’s. Also includes costs for providing professional development services to our teachers. Finally technology purchases and some staff time associated with our schools is also included in this area.
- Student Transportation (5%) – activities concerned with conveying students to and from school, as provided by state and federal law. Includes trips to and from school and to and from activities. This includes all payroll related to drivers, mechanics, supervisors, discipline coordinators, along with fuel, oil and other maintenance supplies and equipment along with the acquisition of buses and vans.
- Nutrition Services (4%) – activities concerned with providing food to students and staff in a school or LEA (local education agency). Includes preparation and serving of regular or incidental meals and snacks in connection with school activities. It would include salaries and benefits for all building food service staff, central office food service director and support services along with the purchase of food and non-food supplies.
- Building Administration (5%) – activities concerned with overall administrative responsibility for a school. Includes payroll for principals, office secretaries (not associated with a counselor), and their supplies or professional development.
- Operations & Maintenance (9%) – activities concerned with keeping the physical plan open, comfortable and safe for use, and keeping the grounds, buildings and equipment in effective working condition. For our district this includes all maintenance and grounds staff payroll, along with our district police department along with their supplies. Also includes property insurance for all buildings as well as all utilities costs (electricity, natural gas, water and sewer). Finally this group includes any costs to clean, maintain, repair, renovate, or install major equipment or major systems that run in the buildings (for instance electrical service, HVAC units, or cleaning of rooms, kitchens, offices and common areas).
- Facilities Acquisition & Construction (1%) – activities concerned with acquiring land or buildings, remodeling buildings, constructing buildings or their additions and improving sites. Most of this activity in our district is covered with construction (i.e. bond) funds and not included in our regular operating budget. One recent example of a project funded from regulars sources was the renovation of the Goddard High School gym.
- Debt Service (17%) – activities related to servicing the long-term debt of the school district, including payments of both principal and interest. This debt service is tied back to bond construction projects that were approved by local voters in past elections; the debt service is paid for through a combination of local property taxes and state aid. In our district it is the next largest area of expenditure outside of instruction.
- Central Services (3%) – activities that support other administrative and instructional functions including fiscal services, human resources, planning and administrative information technology (IT). In Goddard USD 265 this includes payroll related to the business department (including accounts payable and payroll services), human resources, and our IT department costs that are not otherwise charged to instruction or instructional support.
- General Administration (2%) – activities concerned with establishing and administering policy for operating the LEA. Includes board of education costs, costs related to the board clerk, staff relations or negotiation expenses as well as the salaries for the superintendent and his support staff. Liability insurance costs are also charged to this area.