Members Attending: Stella Johnson, Janet Halonen, Sarah Slaby, Cindy Longhenry, Tracey Fiereck, Dianna Groskreutz, Jeff Yeager, Jennifer Charles, David Peterson, Tiffany Rodning, Nancy Schulzetenberg and Lorrie Larson.
MDE Staff Attending: Lisa DeRemee, Audrey Bomstad, Greg Hein, David Day, Patti Scott, John Moorse and Sam Kramer
Members Absent: Dennis Fischer, Sue Nelson and Greg Hierlinger
Chair Tracey Fiereck called the meeting to order at 12:04 P.M. Three new members were introduced.
Approval - December 21, 2011 Meeting Minutes
Stella Johnson moved approval of the prior meeting’s minutes. Jeff Yeager seconded the motion. The committee approved the minutes on a voice vote.
MDE Financial Management staff provided the following updates: The FY 2011 Profiles are in production but not yet posted. The FY 2010 and FY 2011 Consolidated Financial Statements are now posted to the website under the new format. Student data is excluded at this time from the FY 2011 reports, due to additional programming required for reporting of reciprocity data with South Dakota. The raw data may be requested via the UFARS helpdesk e-mail.
Concerns were expressed about the search capabilities of the new website and that not all data and reports have migrated from the old website. Stella Johnson asked where the State-Approved Alternative Learning Program Resource Guide was posted on the new website; she is looking for the most current update to this document and has not been able to locate it.
Sam Kramer, Federal Education Policy Specialist from MDE Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Programs Division presented an overview of agency’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver request. He described how MDE applied for the waiver last summer to the Federal Department of Education; that President Obama indicated that the existing law caused undue burden on schools and that it needed change. Minnesota’s request was approved on 2/9/12. The waiver is good until ESEA is next reauthorized. Under the waiver, some rules have been relaxed. We are now in a transition phase to a new accountability system. Some provisions of the existing NCLB law will remain the same: Academic standards, assessments, published data, calculation of adequate yearly progress, disaggregated data, funding and Highly Qualified teachers. What is new is that AYP targets, sanctions and some required set-asides are no longer required.
A new multiple measurement rating system will be used, measuring proficiency, growth, achievement gap closure and graduation rates. New school classifications will be that the lowest scorers under the multiple measurement system will be identified as priority schools and the next lowest group of performers will be identified as focus schools. The top schools will be identified as reward schools. Focus schools will be required to set aside 20% of their entitlement to implement a continuous improvement plan to reduce the achievement gap. MDE has assigned new UFARS Course codes to be used by Focus schools to report new School Improvement set-asides: 667 for expenditures from the current year award (effective FY 2013); 668, for prior year award expenditures (effective FY 2014); and 669, for second prior year (effective FY 2015). MDE Director of Student Support John Moorse encouraged people to follow the developments on the NCLB waiver page of MDE’s website and to sign up for the Title listserv to stay abreast of changes. He indicated the Title funds application for FY 2013 will be available in May.
George Holt, MDE Supervisor of Special Education Funding, provided background on the federal requirement that state and local special education expenditures for children birth through age 2 be reported separately from Age 3-21 expenditures despite the fact that Minnesota is a birth to age 21 mandate state. Separate Maintenance of Effort calculations and requirements would be needed; UFARS Finance code 741 will be established in FY 2013 to record Birth through Age 2 and the definition of Finance 740 will be revised to reflect Age 3-21 expenditures. Special education has also requested a new UFARS object code for nonlicensed other salary expenditures: object 186 will be implemented in FY 2013; the definition of object 185 will be revised to reflect licensed other salary.
A handout summarizing UFARS coding requirements for new state revenue programs that take effect beginning in FY 2013 was distributed. A new source code (212) for Literacy Incentive Aid will be added for FY 2013; Small Schools revenue will use existing source code 211. No reserve is required for either of these two new revenue programs. Compensatory pilot aid will be reported using source 300 and Finance 317 and is subject to the same expenditure and reserve requirements as compensatory revenue.
Greg Hein of MDE presented a MDE Financial Management staff proposal for new UFARS coding related to the accounting for Food Service Fund Bad Debt. Federal Circular A-87 and USDA guidance precludes the use of any federal funds for bad debts. The new codes for Bad Debt Expense and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts would be added to UFARS in FY 2013.
The FY 2011 UFARS manual introduction to the 500 object code series was revised to replace a $500 threshold with a reference to federal capitalization requirements ($5,000) or the local capitalization threshold, if lower. The committee discussed a MDE Financial Management staff proposal to create a new object code in the 400 series for non-capitalized equipment. Several questions were raised concerning how to treat reporting of equipment that has a value less than the district’s capitalization threshold but which has historically been reported in the UFARS 500 object code series. There being no consensus, the committee recommended against implementing the proposal for FY 2013.
David Peterson discussed a Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Preliminary Views document that proposes to require financial statements contain five year projections. A copy of a Minnesota Association of School Business Officials (MASBO) letter of comment to GASB on the proposal was distributed.
Nominations were opened for Vice Chair. The position becomes next year’s Chair. No volunteers were noted.
The next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday April 18. The meeting was adjourned at 3:10 PM.