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Accounting, Auditing and Financial Management

Overview

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The State of Wisconsin provides financial support to qualifying education agencies through a formal process of data collection. Federal law, state statutes and related administrative rules govern the distribution of general aid and categorical aid.

Click the appropriate link to see a brief summary. If more information is needed, click the associated link provided.

Aid Payments

Provides links to current year and historical information regarding the aid payments the School Financial Services will distribute.

Audit Requirements

DPI has the statutory responsibility to prescribe financial and membership audit requirements (s.120.14, Wisconsin Statutes) for Wisconsin school districts. In fulfilling this responsibility, DPI cooperates closely with school district officials and the independent auditors contracted by each school district. This page has been established as an additional means to provide relevant information concerning financial and membership auditing to interested parties.

Budgeting

The development of a school district’s budget is a long range process. There are several steps and the individuals involved will need to be vigilant to the process as new information coming to the school district will often impact the district’s overall budget and the local levy amounts.

County Children with Disability Education Board (CCDEB)

Provides the end-user the most recent information letter to district administration and auditors who were involved in the operation of a CCDEB.

Debt Reporting Information

Sec. 120.115, Wis. Stats., states that within 10 days of any change to a district's debt service repayment schedule, a new debt service schedule must be submitted to DPI. School districts must report long term debt amortization schedules via the School Finance Team reporting portal. Districts must enter expected future principal and interest payments for each individual long term debt.

Funds

Financial administration requires that each transaction be identified for administrative and accounting purposes. The first identification is by "fund" which is an independent fiscal and accounting entity--requiring its own set of books--in accordance with special regulations, restrictions and limitations that earmark each fund for a specific activity or for attaining certain objectives. Each fund must be so accounted for that the identity of its resources and obligations and its revenues and expenditures is continually maintained.

All funds used by Wisconsin school districts must be classified into one of nine "fund types:"

  • General Fund
  • Special Projects Fund
  • Debt Service Fund
  • Capital Projects Fund
  • Food Service Fund
  • Agency (Pupil Activity) Fund
  • Fiduciary Fund
  • Community Service Fund
  • Package and Cooperative Program Fund

Property Value

Property value is the dollar-value placed on land and buildings for the purposes of administering property taxes. This page helps to better understand the role of property value in school finances.

Recording Wisconsin Retirement System Employer Credit

The Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (WRS) has identified in a June 20, 2001 credit invoice to each school district the amount of retirement system employer credit they are eligible for as a result of 1999 Wisconsin Act 11. This page assists the end-user in understanding how this topic will impact the school district.

School District Fund Balance Policy

Governments (such as school districts) usually organize their accounting systems on a "fund" basis. A fund is a separate set of accounting records, segregated for purpose of carrying on an activity and established for accountability purposes to demonstrate that financial resources are being used only for permitted purposes. DPI specifies the various funds required to be used by Wisconsin school districts. All school districts have a General Fund and may have one or more other funds to account for specific activities.

Tuition

Tuition is "the price of or payment for instruction." It is payment for any contracted instructional service, from a weekly half hour of speech therapy to full-time enrollment outside the resident school district. State statutes do not provide a specific definition of tuition but it is described more broadly than full-time enrollment out of one school district into another.

Wisconsin Uniform Financial Accounting Requirements (WUFAR)

The WUFAR manual presents a uniform financial and accounting structure for public elementary and secondary schools in the state of Wisconsin. It replaces the Wisconsin Elementary and Secondary School Accounting System (WESSAS) Handbook last updated in July, 1992.

For questions about this information, contact dpifin@dpi.wi.gov (608) 267-9114