School Finance Basics

  • Chapter 298.A School District Fund Structure
    This PDF from the Code of Iowa identifies the codification of the various fund structures which shall be used by school districts. 

    Property Tax Basics
    The Iowa Association of School Boards has prepared this PowerPoint for providing basic information on property taxes in Iowa.  The presentation covers the topics of tax calculations, definitions, formulas, taxing entities and boundaries, limits, classes of property, credits, and TIF. 

    School Finance Basics
    This primer document is a PowerPoint presentation by the Iowa Association of School Boards that presents a fundamental view of school financing in Iowa.  This document provides foundation information on the combination of state and local funds to finance education and the role state aid plays in both the General Fund and school aid for educational programs and for facilities. 

    School Finance Definitions
    The Iowa Association of School Boards has prepared a PDF of an alphabetical listing of key terms that are associated with school financing in Iowa. 

    School Finance Manual
    This document from the Iowa Association of School Board presents a comprehensive review of school finance in Iowa.  Included in the document is information on the history of school funding, taxing authorities, enrollment, cost per pupil, district costs, school district spending authority, funds, facilities, and the budget process. 

    Accounting Tree
    This is a high level view of how schools are required to account for revenues and expenditures. Our District accounting system has thousands of actual account codes that fall under these categories to help us track expenditures in great detail. 

    Dillon's Rule
    This is an extremely important concept that illustrates how Iowa schools are allowed to operate. Unlike counties and cities which use the concept of “home rule” Iowa schools work under the concept of Dillon’s Rule for our day to day legal operational practices. 

    Funds
    Iowa school funding is very categorical in nature. Many times patrons make the observation that the District appears to have enough money to build buildings but does not have enough money to provide some type of additional instructional program or course offering. The answer to this line of questioning always falls back to how Iowa schools are funded and the “compartments” or categorical nature of how the funds are received from the state and federal government. Categorical funds come with “strings” attached and must be accounted for and spent only on the purpose under which the funds were received. 

    Iowa K12 School Finance
    This is another look at providing a basic understanding of Iowa school finance especially focused on the interworkings of the state foundation school aid formula.