Correspondence for Independent School Districts
March 20, 2020Posted by Business Center on 3/20/2020
- COVID-19 Information
Below are a few of the items that might impact your funding for the 2019-2020 school year. As this information changes rapidly, please make sure to stay up to date with the TEA’s COVID-19 website.
Emergency Funding Documentation
LEAs should meticulously document funding and resources expended for COVID-19 related activities and services, as funding sources that may become available may operate on a reimbursement model or be funded based on documented costs.
Closure and Make Up Days
In the event schools are closed, the current policy regarding missed school days still applies to LEAs at or above the 75,600 operational minute requirement (or 180 days for charter schools on a 180 day calendar). See FAQ March 19, 2020
If an LEA has a school closure based on COVID-19 related concerns that cannot be accommodated by other options available to the district, the district may seek additional minute waivers from the agency. Those waivers would be granted as long as the district commits to supporting students instructionally while at home. An attestation will be required to be submitted with the waiver.
Attestation for Waivers
As noted above, there are two different attestations:
- The 2018-2019 COVID-10 Missed School Day Waiver Attestation Statement
- Attestation of Off-Campus Programs Approved for Purposes of Average Daily Attendance (TEC §48.007)
Absences and 90% Rule
If an LEA is experiencing low attendance due to COVID-19 related concerns, rather than illness, the district may also use the attestation related to educational support to count students absent from campus grounds as present for Average Daily Attendance (ADA) purposes.
Waivers regarding the 90% Rule will be automatically granted, pursuant to the Commissioner's general waiver authority under Texas Education Code (TEC), §7.056, for students who do not meet the minimum attendance requirements of TEC, §25.092, for class credit or final grade for the 2019-2020 school year. School districts and open-enrollment charter schools do not need to apply for these automatic waivers.
This information and more can be found on the TEA’s COVID-19 website: https://tea.texas.gov/texas-schools/safe-and-healthy-schools/coronavirus-covid-19-support-and-guidance
- SHARS Deadlines
Districts and charter schools who participate in HHSC's MAC and SHARS programs have document submissions due on March 20 and April 1 respectively. Effective immediately, the SHARS cost report and MAC submission deadlines will be extended through April 15th, 2020. Depending on the duration of the COVID-19 disaster, this deadline may be further extended to provide additional relief.
Feb 25, 2020Posted by Business Center on 2/25/2020
House Bill 3 (HB 3) Implementation – Industry-Based Certification (IBC) Reimbursements:
Under HB3, a school district is entitled to a reimbursement to help defray the cost of IBC exams taken by students beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. School districts cannot receive more than one reimbursement per student for a passed exam. For the 2019-2020 school year, districts received estimated Foundation School Program funding allocations.
The amount of estimated funding may be found on line 40 of the Summary of Finance report. Settle-up will be based on the districts PEIMS Summer and Fall submissions and occur in the in the spring of the following year once cost and certifying entity information has been collected.
The TEA Correspondence can be found at: https://tea.texas.gov/about-tea/news-and-multimedia/correspondence/taa-letters/house-bill-3-hb-3-implementation-industry
Feb 11, 2020Posted by Business Center on 2/11/2020
- Tax Rates for 2020-2021
We suggest that you revisit the “To Administrator Addressed” (TAA) correspondence, titled House Bill 3 (HB 3) Implementation: 2020 Tax Rate Changes, with this additional information before planning and setting tax rates for next school year.
During our Roundtable discussions last week, a few participants had questions about levying Tier II taxes up to 17 cents that had been authorized by voters in a past TRE. Since the TAA correspondence was not real clear on this issue, Spencer submitted a question to TEA. TEA’s response may shed a new light on the TAA correspondence. The question and answer are as follows:
We have a few districts inquiring about the total Tier II taxes that they can levy – here are their questions:
Is the Tier II compression from TY 2019 permanent for future year’s accessibility of pennies? The school was at $1.17 and compressed to a total M&O rate of $1.0683 for the TY 2019. In this scenario, the enrichment pennies levied were only $0.1383 at the compressed rate. Moving into the TY 2020 (assuming a MCR of $0.9164), can they levy their $0.17 that were approved prior to get to the max rate of $1.0864? Or are they only allowed to use the “accessed” amount from TY 2019 ($0.1383) and levy $1.0547? They are concerned about the wording on the “previously approved” and the “previously accessed” listed from the TAA on January 9th.
Please let me know if you need additional clarification to provide a response. Thank you.
Spencer Davis, MBA, CTSBS
Team Lead, Business Services
A district at 1.17 in 2018 would need to have a TRE to go above their .1383 enrichment pennies.
Having previous voter approval to go to 1.17 only allows the MCR+.1383 enrichment pennies in the future
- New Release – Omar Garcia’s Template
Omar Garcia with BOK Financial Securities has a new release (Release 13 dated 2/6/2020) that is now available for download. This new release loads the Comptroller’s 2019 Preliminary property values and makes a few other corrections (see Notes tab). There will be more to come, so as always, please stay tuned for any new developments.
- House Bill 3 (HB 3) Implementation: College Preparation Assessment Reimbursements
For the 2019-2020 school year, districts received estimated Foundation School Program allocations for College Preparation Assessment Reimbursements. The amount of estimated funding may be found on line 39 of the Summary of Finance report. Districts will receive estimated funding annually and TEA will settle up in the spring of the following year, once all student attendance data is received.
Districts should be proactive in developing internal processes to collect and maintain assessment information and be prepared to provide this information to TEA.
Additionally, districts may not use the assessment administration cost to meet the 55% expenditure requirement for the college, career, and military readiness (CCMR) outcomes bonus (program intent code 38) funding. However, districts may use the CCMR bonus to pay for additional college preparation assessments and pre-assessments.
This information can be found on the TAA correspondence at: https://tea.texas.gov/about-tea/news-and-multimedia/correspondence/taa-letters/house-bill-3-hb-3-implementation-college-preparation-assessment-reimbursements
Jan 3, 2020Posted by Business Center on 1/3/2020
- IRS issues standard mileage rates for 2020
Beginning on January 1, 2020, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
- 5 cents per mile driven for business use, down one half of a cent from the rate for 2019,
- 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down three cents from the rate for 2019, and
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.
Additional information on the new rates can be found at: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-issues-standard-mileage-rates-for-2020
- IRS issues final version of 2020 W4 and Publication 15-T
The IRS has issued the final version of the 2020 Form W-4 Employee’s Withholding Certificate, Publication 15-T Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods, and has updated their FAQs regarding this subject.
We recommend that you make yourself aware of these changes so that you will be able to assist your employees with this new form.
Additional information about the new 2020 W4 form can be found at: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-w-4
- SOF Template Update
Omar Garcia with BOK Financial Securities has a new release (Release 12 dated 12/16/2019) that is now available for download. This new release makes a few changes, the more significant ones related to the 20-21 school year (see Notes tab).
December 12, 2019Posted by Business Center on 12/17/2019
- Teacher Mentor Program
TEA has released information regarding the Mentor Program Allotment (MPA) as a new optional program for districts. Interested districts will need to apply for MPA funds, with applications available for the first time in spring 2020 for the 2020-2021 school year.
- The MPA funding formula will provide districts with $1,800 per mentee, which can be used on mentor stipends, scheduled release time, and mentor training. Funding is intended to reduce districts costs for building and sustaining best practices in new teacher mentorship.
- Funding will begin in the 2020-2021 school year. Initial applications for MPA funding will begin in spring 2020, and there will be an annual application window.
The original correspondence with additional information can be found at: Teacher Mentor Program
- New W4 Forms for 2020
The Form W-4 has been redesigned for 2020. Calculating an employee’s federal withholding taxes is also changing for 2020. Below are several links for additional information regarding these changes. We recommend that you make yourself aware of these changes so that you will be able to assist your employees with this new form beginning January, 2020.
- Draft of 2020 Form W-4 Employee’s Withholding Certificate: Withholding Cert
- FAQs on the draft 2020 Form W-4: W4
- IRS Video Understanding the 2020 Form W-4 and How to Use it to Calculate Withholding (1 hour, 10 minutes): Calculate Withholding
Publication 15-T Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods for use in 2020: Publication 15-T
November 22, 2019Posted by Business Center on 11/22/2019
Public Funds Investment Act Training for School Districts
The Public Funds Investment Act requires that the treasurer, chief financial officer (CFO), and investment officer of a school district attend 10 hours of training within 12 months of taking office or assuming duties and eight hours of renewal training every two years thereafter.
House Bill 293 amended Government Code, §2256.008(a-1) to exempt the treasurer, CFO, and investment officer of a school district from the requirement to attend investment training if the district:
- Does not invest public funds, or
- Only deposits those funds in:
- Interest-bearing accounts, or
- Certificate of deposit (CDs).
Beginning September 1, 2019, school district officials who are exempt from investment training must annually submit an affidavit to the Financial Compliance Division of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) identifying the exemption criteria that apply to the district.
The due date of the affidavit submission should coincide with the district’s annual financial report (AFR) due date (November 27 or January 28, depending on the fiscal year-end date). The affidavit should be a PDF and emailed to InvestmentTraining@tea.texas.gov.
The TEA correspondence in reference to this information can be found at: https://tea.texas.gov/about-tea/news-and-multimedia/correspondence/taa-letters/public-funds-investment-act-training-school-districts.
November 12, 2019Posted by Business Center on 11/12/2019
- House Bill 3 (HB 3) Implementation: Transportation Funding
The recently adopted 2020-2021 rate under the current GAA is $1 per mile for the following:
- Regular Transportation Program Allotment - Home-to-school and school-to-home transportation for students within their attendance zone, and
- Dual Credit and Work-Based Learning - Transporting eligible students from home-to-school and school-to-home to schools outside their attendance zone, and
- Homeless students: HB 3 formally expanded the definition of a “regular eligible student” to include students who are homeless according to the criteria found in United States Code, Title 42, §11434a.
Recapture Districts: Since recapture is now calculated as excess over entitlement and the transportation allotment is part of Tier 1 costs, recapture districts now benefit from the allotment.
Reporting Transportation Information: For the purposes of calculating the formula transition grant, HB 3 requires that transportation funding be calculated under both the linear density and $1 per mile formulas. As a result, there are no changes to Foundation School Program transportation reporting due to HB 3, and transportation allotment reporting remains on the same schedule for 2019-2020.
- Actual 2019-2020 transportation route services data is due to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) by August 1, 2020.
- Actual 2019-2020 transportation operations data is due to TEA by December 1, 2020.
- Actual 2019-2020 transportation allotments will be updated to the SOF report in August 2020 when near final and final settle-up are calculated.
More information about this and other HB 3 documentation can be found on the HB 3 website of TEA.
Sept 30, 2019Posted by Business Center on 9/30/2019
Given the significant changes required by HB 3, other related reports (including the statewide SOF and cost of recapture reports) will be made available throughout the year. Some of the formula funding elements for 2019–2020 remain the same as 2018–2019, and new elements were added or modified. Some tier one allotments were expanded, and new allotments were added. A quick overview of some of the items discussed are listed below.
2019–2020 State Aid Template: As always, TEA strongly advises your school district or charter school to project state aid based on the best available information. Your district or charter school should complete a state aid template or an equivalent state aid estimation process. Estimates of state aid earned can be significantly impacted by factors not known to the State Funding Division.
Links to the 2019–2020 state aid templates developed by the TEA and the Region XIII Education Service Center are available under “Resources” on the FSP web page. A 2019–2020 Estimate of State Aid Template for Charter Schools is available on the Charter School Finance webpage.
Student Counts: Student counts (ADA, full-time equivalents (FTEs), and enrollment counts) shown in the LPE and DPE columns are based on the March 2019 attendance projections that were submitted and approved during the appropriations process. Please note that the payments made to your school district during the year are based on the estimated student counts shown in the LPE column. Your district should carefully monitor its state aid payments during the year as they may differ from actual earnings at year end and create an overpayment or underpayment.
2019 State-Certified Property Value: HB 3 provides for using the current, rather than preceding taxable value of property in calculating a district’s local share of the FSP. The LPE and DPE columns on the SOF report will be updated in February 2020 after the TEA receives preliminary 2019 state-certified district property values (DPV) from the Texas Comptroller’s Property Tax Assistance Division (PTAD).
Per Capita Rate: A rate of $259.207 multiplied by projected prior-year ADA is used to estimate the per capita allotment. The rate is subject to change during the fiscal year.
How Tier One Funding is Determined under HB 3: Total cost of Tier One appears on line 42 of the SOF report. The Basic Allotment (BA) is increased from $5,140 to $6,160 per student in average daily attendance (ADA) for the 2019–2020 biennium.
- Small and Mid-sized District Allotment: The small and mid-sized district adjustments were recreated as a stand-alone allotment for small and mid-sized districts. The allotment is on line 22 of the SOF report. For school districts, the LPE and DPE columns are based on an increased BA of $6,160 and estimated ADA as described in the “Student Counts” section on page 1. The DPE column will be updated at near-final settle-up in September 2020 to use ADA from the district’s PEIMS summer submission.
Charter schools will now receive the weighted average funding amount for the small and mid-sized allotment. This change recognizes the population of students in small and mid-sized districts relative to the total student population in the state. However, the funding amount excludes the increased funding for single county districts with fewer than 300 ADA and the increase to the BA resulting from the move to current year property values for school districts. For 2019–2020, this amount is estimated to be $1,060 per ADA.
- Special Education Adjusted Allotment: HB 3 increased the mainstream special education weight from 1.1 to 1.15 and overall special education funding also increased by the small or mid-sized district weights for small and mid-sized districts. The allotment is on line 23 of the SOF report. At least 55 percent of the funds allocated under this section must be used in the special education program.
- Dyslexia Allotment: HB 3 establishes a new dyslexia allotment of 0.1 per student that appears on line 24 of the SOF report. Initial funding estimates for school year 2019–2020 will be based on estimates of students identified as having dyslexia or a related disorder in the 2018–2019 school year. Final funding amounts (at near-final settle-up in September 2020) will be based on actual counts of students receiving dyslexia services based on data submitted by districts in the PEIMS Summer submission. 100 percent of dyslexia allotment funds allocated must be used to fund eligible expenditures under the allotment.
- Compensatory Education Allotment: HB 3 modified the compensatory education allotment and it appears on line 25 of the SOF report. Districts will receive an annual allotment equal to the BA multiplied by one of five weights for students determined to be educationally disadvantaged. These weights are based on the tier assigned in that year to the census block group in which a student who is educationally disadvantaged resides. At least 55 percent of the SCE funds allocated must be used to fund supplemental programs and services.
Initial estimates in the LPE and DPE columns use the 2018 fall enrollment estimates and campus address to determine the weight to apply for each student who is educationally disadvantaged at that campus. Actual funding will be based on each economically disadvantaged student census block group submitted in the PEIMS fall submission. Starting in the spring of 2020, the monthly FSP payments will be based on the actual student census block group submitted in the 2019 PEIMS fall data.
- Bilingual Education Allotment: HB 3 modified the bilingual education allotment to provide an additional 0.05 weight to students using a dual language immersion/one-way or two-way program model. The allotment appears on line 26 of the SOF report. At least 55 percent of the funds allocated under this section must be used in providing bilingual education or special language programs.
- Career and Technology Allotment: The career and technology allotment was amended by HB 3 to expand the career and technology allotment to add new courses (tech apps) and apply the allotment to high school CTE and tech apps courses taught in seventh and eighth grade. The allotment appears on line 27 of the SOF report. At least 55 percent of the funds allocated under this section must be used in providing career and technology education programs in grades 7 through 12.
- Early Education Allotment: The early education allotment established by HB 3 appears on line 29 of the SOF report. Funds are allocated to improve student performance in early elementary reading and mathematics, which includes supporting full-day prekindergarten. Funding is determined by multiplying 0.1 by the BA for each economically disadvantaged student and each limited English proficiency student in K-3. Students who are both economically disadvantaged and limited English proficiency receive 0.2 times the BA.
Eligible prekindergarten students will continue to generate half-day ADA. Early Education Allotment funds (generated by your K-3 students) will come on top of this prekindergarten ADA. Funds may be used: 1) for the second half of the day for eligible 4-year-olds, 2) to support implementing early literacy and mathematics proficiency plans that lead to improved third grade proficiency, or 3) to pay for teachers and principals attending the Reading Academies. 100 percent of the early education allotment funds allocated must be used to fund eligible expenditures under the allotment
- CCMR Outcomes Bonus: The CCMR outcomes bonus established by HB 3 appears on line 30 of the SOF report. Districts will receive an outcomes bonus in the 2019–2020 school year, and this bonus will be generated from 2017–2018 graduates. At least 55 percent of the funds allocated under this section must be used in grades 8 through 12 to improve CCMR outcomes.
- Fast Growth Allotment: The fast growth allotment established by HB 3 appears on line 31 of the SOF report. School districts in the top quartile of growth in student enrollment over the preceding three school years will be eligible for the allotment and will be calculated based on applying a funding weight of 0.04 to the BA and multiplying by eligible districts’ ADA. The TEA will be adopting rules regarding the allotment by the fall. A preliminary list of school districts currently projected to receive the fast growth allotment is available on the TEA website.
- Teacher Incentive Allotment: The teacher incentive allotment appears on line 32 of the SOF report. The LPE and DPE columns will be zero until near-final settle-up in September 2020 when DPE will be updated with final data. More information on this topic is forthcoming on October 3, 2019.
- Mentor Program Allotment: The mentor program allotment appears on line 33 of the SOF report. No funding will be distributed in the 2019–2020 school year. The first group of districts will apply in the 2020-2021 school year, and the funding would begin in 2021. More information on this topic is forthcoming on October 31, 2019.
- Transportation Allotment: HB 3 provides entitlement based on a rate per mile set by the Legislature in the General Appropriations Act (GAA). The LPE and DPE columns are estimates based on your school district’s estimated 2018–2019 route miles multiplied by the GAA-established rate of $1 per mile. More information on this topic is forthcoming on November 7, 2019.
- College Preparation Assessment Reimbursement: The college preparation assessment reimbursement was established by HB 3 to reimburse districts that offer one free college preparation exam per student before they graduate. The reimbursement appears on line 39 of the SOF report. The amount for FY20 will be based on 100% of projected grade 11 enrollment plus 50% of projected grade 12 enrollment multiplied by $35 per student. Districts will need to keep track of students and their selected exams for back-up documentation, since if students do not take the SAT or ACT exams, this funding will be returned to the agency during settle-up in April 2021.
- Certification Examination Reimbursement: The certification examination reimbursement established by HB 3 appears on line 40 of the SOF report. Reimbursement is provided once per high school student who meets the requirements for any of the Industry-Based Certifications (IBCs) in A-F accountability. Initial estimates are based on district CTE enrollment multiplied by $8.51 and provides districts with funds to pay for IBCs when the student earns the IBC. Districts will need to keep track of students and their selected exams for back-up documentation, since unused funds or additional funding to cover the cost of exam fees paid for students who earn a certification will be a part of the April 2021 settle-up process.
How Tier Two Funding is Determined under HB 3: Tier Two funding appears on line 46 of the SOF report. Tier two is comprised of two levels of guaranteed yield funding on the pennies of tax effort that exceed a district’s tier one tax rate ($0.93). The enrichment tax rate is defined as any tax effort in excess of the tier one tax rate, $0.93, and less than $1.17. The enrichment tax rate will continue to be divided into ”golden pennies” and ”copper pennies.” The golden pennies have been increased from 6 to 8 and the copper pennies refer to 2018 tax effort between $1.08 and $1.17.
The tax rate compression required for the enrichment tax rate is applied only to the copper pennies. The compression rate required will be 0.64834, calculated as the fraction of the guaranteed yield level of state and local funds per weighted student for the 2018-2019 school year ($31.95) divided by the guarantee level for the 2019-2020 school year ($49.28).
Subchapter F Allotments: These allotments are made up of the Formula Transition Grant, Equalized Wealth Transition Grant, Charter School Facility Funding, Reimbursement for Interest Refunds, and Additional State Aid for ISDs with a Charter School. They can be found on line 47 under the Other Programs heading.
In addition to more detailed information on the items above, TEA has listed all State Funding Division contact information at the bottom of the TAA correspondence letter.
Sept 5, 2019Posted by Business Center on 9/9/2019
- Preliminary 2019-2020 Summary of Finance
The summary of finances (SOF) report for 2019-2020 located on the School District State Aid Reports webpage has been updated to reflect changes related to the passage of House Bill (HB) 3. The new foundation school fund and ASF allotment will be used to issue the first payments in September, with ongoing updates to add detail to the SOF report. More detailed correspondence is forthcoming in a TEA letter explaining the funding elements and estimates used in the preliminary 2019–2020 SOF report.
- Recently added HB 3 Information
The HB 3 FAQ’s have been updated as of 09/03/19 with new information. In addition to the HB 3 in 30 video series, some of the recent correspondence letters include:
- Gifted/Talented Certification and Funding – required to certify a G/T program or may lose funding
- Special Education/Dyslexia – correspondence and video should be released today on this subject
- Census Block Group Tools
HB 3 requires that Texas Local Education Agencies (LEAs) report a census block group number for each economically disadvantaged student. TEA has created two tools to determine this information: 1) Census Block Group Calculator with instructions on how to utilize it, and 2) the Census Clock Map. Both tools can be accessed at the TEA’s Census Block Group Tools website.
August 27, 2019Posted by Business Center on 9/2/2019
- 2019 Tax Information Survey Deadline
The 2019 Tax Information Survey (TIS) will close at midnight on August 31, 2019. If your district does not submit the survey by the deadline, your district’s state funding for the 2018–2019 school year could be adversely affected.
Completing the survey is important because it allows the agency to use the most accurate tax collections data possible when we calculate 2018–2019 near-final Summary of Finances (SOF) estimates in September 2019. Your district will not have another opportunity to submit revised tax collections data for the 2018–2019 school year until the district submits its J-1 schedule as part of its annual financial and compliance report.
For more information on the FSP System, including information on applying for specific roles in the system, please see the TEA FSP System web page. For help with accessing the FSP System or submitting the 2019 TIS, please contact Nancy Kuhn by phone at (512) 463-6313 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or State Funding at (512) 463-9238 or email@example.com.
- Updates to Program Intent Codes from HB 3
Three new program intent codes (PICs) will be added to the 2019-2020 Texas Education Data Standards (TEDS) PEIMS Program Intent Code, code table (C147) effective with the 2019-2020 budget financial data submission and the 2020-2021 actual financial data submission. Also, the Financial Accountability System Resource Guide (FASRG), will be updated in the guide’s next adoption to include the new PICs.
NEW Program Intent Codes (PICs)
Use of Funds
Early Education Allotment
Funds allocated must be used to fund programs and services designed to improve student performance in reading and mathematics in prekindergarten through third grade, including programs and services designed to assist the district in achieving the goals set in the district’s early childhood literacy and mathematics proficiency plans adopted under TEC Section 11.185.
For each student that a school district serves who has been identified as having dyslexia or a related disorder under TEC Section 48.103.
College, Career, and Military Readiness
At least 55 percent of the funds allocated must be used in grades 8 through 12 to improve college, career, and military readiness outcomes as described by TEC Section 48.110, Subsection (f).
LEAs will continue to use PICs for the Gifted and Talented (GT), and High School Allotments:
- The GT - PIC 21 will be used to report the use of funds on the LEA’s program for gifted and talented as provided by State Board of Education rule.
- The High School Allotment - PIC 31 will be used for funds left over from previous allotments that were allocated to LEAs to prepare high school students for higher education, encourage students to take advance academic course work, increase the rigor of academic course work, align secondary and postsecondary curriculum and support promising high school completion and success initiatives in grades 6 through 12.
The TEA correspondence in reference to this information can be found at: http://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/News_and_Multimedia/Correspondence/TAA_Letters/Updates_to_Program_Intent_Codes