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Levies that are part of the school foundation formula are revenues to the General Fund. The school board may annually certify a levy for cash flow in the General Fund, called a cash reserve levy, within limits set by the School Budget Review Committee. Money from all sources is accounted for in the General Fund except money required by law to be accounted for in another fund. Expenditures include the cost of providing an educational program to school-age children and day-to-day operations.
For specific revenue sources and appropriate and inappropriate uses of the general fund and categorical funding within the general fund, refer to Iowa Administrative Code chapter 281—98 and the Iowa Uniform Administrative Procedures Manual, chapter 9.
2017 Iowa Acts chapter 154, House File 565 increased district flexibility in how unexpended, unobligated amounts from certain categorical funds can be used by creation and utilization of a Flexibility Account within the General Fund. Effective with the budget year beginning July 1, 2017, (fiscal year 2018), a school district may authorize transfer of all or any portion of unexpended, unobligated amounts remaining at the end the fiscal year from the following categorical funds to the Flexibility Account: Preschool Foundation Aid, Professional Development Supplement, Home School Assistance Program, and Teacher Leadership Supplement (added FY21). Additionally, a school district may transfer all or a portion of any unexpended and unobligated moneys in any other school district fund or school district general fund account if the program, purpose, or requirements for the expenditure of such moneys have been repealed or are no longer in effect.
Before the board of directors may adopt a resolution approving expenditures from the Flexibility Account, it must hold a public hearing on the proposed resolution, which must include certain information prescribed by statue. The board is required to publish notice of the time and the place of the public hearing not less than ten nor more than twenty days before the hearing in the same manner as required in Iowa Code section 24.9, using the form prescribed by the Department.
Instructional Support Program
A school district may establish an Instructional Support Program to provide additional funding in the General Fund. The Program may be established by a board resolution up to five years or approved by the voters up to 10 years. The Program may be funded by all property tax or a combination of property tax and income surtax. The total Program may not exceed 10% of the district's regular program district cost. The revenues from the Instructional Support Program may be expended for any purpose allowed from the General Fund, but may not be used to supplant funding authorized to be received for returning dropout and dropout prevention programs, gifted and talented programs, PPEL levy, Management levy, or special education deficits. Iowa Code section 257.18.
Educational Improvement Program
The voters in a school district may authorize an Educational Improvement Program to provide additional funding in the General Fund if the regular program district cost per pupil for a budget year is 110% of the regular program state cost per pupil for the budget year or the district had adopted an enrichment levy of 15% prior to July 1, 1992. In order to implement the Educational Improvement Program, the district must have also approved the Instructional Support Program. The Educational Improvement Program may be funded by all property tax or a combination of property tax and income surtax. The Program may not exceed the percent of the district's regular program district cost that was approved by the voters. Once voted, the Program continues to be authorized in the district until the voters rescind. The Educational Improvement Program may be expended for any purpose allowed from the General Fund. Iowa Code section 257.29.