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Home > MSMA News > Individual warrant articles to give boards flexibility on additional state subsidy – April 25, 2017

Individual warrant articles to give boards flexibility on additional state subsidy – April 25, 2017

The Legislature in 2016 passed a bill that allows a school district to include an article or articles in the warrant for its annual budget meeting that says in the event the district receives more state subsidy than expected, the school board can, without a special budget meeting and budget validation referendum: increase expenditures for school purposes in approved costs centers; decrease the local tax rate for education; or increase reserves. The law addresses the problem that typically happens every two years when the Legislature, late in the session, passes the state budget after districts have approved their budgets at the local level based on GPA estimates.

Drummond Woodsum has provided the following suggested language for the warrant articles. If none of these articles are included in the budget meeting warrant, any additional State subsidy received should be treated as a revenue that will go to unallocated fund balance.

Option 1: If you want to use additional State subsidy to increase the school budget by the amount of additional state subsidy, you can use this article:

In the event that the [SAU] receives more state education subsidy than the amount included in its budget, shall the School Board be authorized to use all or part of the additional state subsidy to increase expenditures for school purposes in cost center categories approved by the School Board?

Option 2: If you want to use additional State subsidy to increase a reserve fund, you can use this article:

In the event that the [SAU] receives more state education subsidy than the amount included in its budget, shall the School Board be authorized to use all or part of the additional state subsidy to increase the allocation of finances in a reserve fund approved by the School Board?

Option 3: If you want to use additional State subsidy to reduce local assessments, you can use this article:

In the event that the [SAU] receives more state education subsidy than the amount included in its budget, shall the School Board be authorized to use all or part of the additional state subsidy to decrease the local cost share expectation, as defined in Title 20-A, section 15671‑A(1)(B), for local property taxpayers for funding public education as approved by the School Board?

Option 4: If you want the option to do all three of the above, you can use this article:

In the event that the [SAU] receives more state education subsidy than the amount included in its budget, shall the School Board be authorized to use all or part of the additional state subsidy to increase expenditures for school purposes in cost center categories approved by the School Board, increase the allocation of finances in a reserve fund approved by the School Board, and/or decrease the local cost share expectation, as defined in Title 20-A, section 15671‑A(1)(B), for local property taxpayers for funding public education as approved by the School Board?

The law requires the substance of an article to use additional state subsidy be disclosed to the voters by including it in the printed budget validation referendum information that is required to be posted at polling places.  Here is the suggested language to include below a listing of the budget amounts adopted at the budget meeting:

Option 1
Disposition of Additional State SubsidyThe voters of the [SAU] have authorized the School Board to use all or part of additional state subsidy received, if any, to increase expenditures for school purposes in cost center categories approved by the School Board.

Option 2
Disposition of Additional State SubsidyThe voters of the [SAU] have authorized the School Board to use all or part of additional state subsidy received, if any, to increase the allocation of finances in a reserve fund approved by the School Board.

Option 3
Disposition of Additional State SubsidyThe voters of the [SAU] have authorized the School Board to use all or part of additional state subsidy received, if any, to decrease the local cost share expectation, as defined in Title 20‑A, section 15671‑A(1)(B), for local property taxpayers for funding public education as approved by the School Board. 

Option 4
Disposition of Additional State SubsidyThe voters of the [SAU] have authorized the School Board to use all or part of additional state subsidy received, if any, to increase expenditures for school purposes in cost center categories approved by the School Board, increase the allocation of finances in a reserve fund approved by the School Board, and/or decrease the local cost share expectation, as defined in Title 20‑A, section 15671‑A(1)(B), for local property taxpayers for funding public education as approved by the School Board. 

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