Superintendents and business managers new to a district or new to the state need some basic information. The following resources provide a good place to start the exploration of Iowa school finance.
Financing Public Education in Iowa - Provides general information about financing of Iowa’s public schools. The contents include a brief history of school finance legislation, concepts surrounding the current school aid formula, and information about the various funding components, including references to Iowa Code and Rule.
Uniform Administrative Procedures Manual - A compilation of relevant legal and authoritative citations and references in the area of school business management in Iowa. A must-read for those who wish to understand school management in Iowa.
School finance is governed by Iowa Code 257.
Student counts and supplementary weighting of students are sent to the Department of Education via Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI).
Supplementary weighting rules may be found at Iowa Administrative Code 281-97.
Student count and supplementary weighting are sent to the Department of Management for inclusion on the Aid & Levy Worksheet -- link to Department of Management. The Aid & Levy Worksheet provides the basis on which the budget documents are filled out (first blue link on the same page). The Aid & Levy Worksheet builds the funding and, for the most part, the spending authority for each school district. It is illegal to exceed spending authority, as determined by the Unspent Authorized Budget Report (first spreadsheet under the heading of Unspent Authorized Budget Report on the same page).
Districts need to be sure to track on a monthly basis their financial position in relation to spending authority and published budget control lines. Sample board reports may be found at -- link to School Finance Tools - see Reporting.
Districts that exceed their spending authority will be required to submit to the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) a Corrective Action Plan, outlining how the district plans to bring the unspent authority balance back to a positive position -- link to School Finance Tools - Corrective Action Plan. More information about the SBRC may be found at --- link to SBRC.
Districts are required to follow the manual called Uniform Financial Accounting for Iowa School Districts and AEAs -- link to Uniform Financial Accounting. This manual is based on a federal handbook for accounting. The manual discusses accounting theory for school districts, following generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for governmental entities. The chart of account descriptions and Chart of Account Codes include the detail that school districts and AEAs use in their accounting systems. Both of these documents may be found on the link above.
Districts report revenues and expenditures each year via the Certified Annual Financial Report (CAR) -- link to Certified Annual Financial Report. This report also feeds data to the Special Education Supplement to the CAR, as well as the Transportation Annual Report. All three of these applications may be found on the Iowa Education Portal, which requires a user name and password. Most data collection is done through this website. Special Education information may be found here -- link to Special Education Finance. Transportation information may be found here -- link to Transportation Publications & Data.
The Transportation Annual Report feeds data to the Transportation Nonpublic Claim application, which districts file once a year. The claim is found on the Iowa Education Portal. Information about the claim may be found on the Nonpublic Transportation Reimbursement webpage.
General information on facilities planning maybe be found here -- link to Facility Planning.
School District Income Tax Report: https://tax.iowa.gov/
SAVE Distributions: https://tax.