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Budgeting FAQs

School District Budgeting

Frequently Asked Questions

This guidance document is advisory in nature but is binding on an agency until amended by such agency. A guidance document does not include internal procedural documents that only affect the internal operations of the agency and does not impose additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties or include confidential information or rules and regulations made in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. If you believe that this guidance document imposes additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties, you may request a review of the document. For comments regarding this document contact nde.guidance@nebraska.gov

What’s new in School District Budgeting for 2017/18?

  • The Basic Allowable Growth Rate has been reduced to 1.5% from 2.5%.  This reduction will remain in place for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school year.  Based on current statute, the Basic Allowable Growth Rate will return to 2.5% for the 2019/20 school year.  (2017 LB409)
  • The levy and expenditure exclusion for Voluntary Termination Agreements has been modified as follows (2017 LB512):
    • Incentives paid for voluntary termination agreements which could be part of a collective bargaining unit and have been approved within timeframes listed below with certificated STAFF who are retiring prior to September 1, 2017:
      • Prior to July 1, 2009, or
      • Occurring on or after the last day of the 2010/11 school year and prior to the first day of the 2013/14 school year, or
      • Occurring on or after the first day of the 2013/14 school year. The request must include the net cost savings over five years.
    • Incentives paid for voluntary termination agreements with certificated TEACHERS beginning September 1, 2017, that meet the following stipulations:
      • The value of current and future incentives will not exceed $35,000 in total.
      • All incentives must be paid within five (5) years of agreement or until the certificated teacher becomes eligible for Medicare, whichever occurs first.
      • The voluntary termination agreement was not part of any collective bargaining agreement.
      • The payment of incentives must result in a net savings in salary and benefit to the district over a five-year period.
    • Incentives paid for agreements with certificated EMPLOYEES for voluntary terminations resulting from a collective bargaining agreement in place prior to September 1, 2017.
      • For voluntary terminations occurring between September 1, 2017 and August 31, 2018, 75% of the total incentives paid by the district during the 2017/18 school year would be eligible for the expenditure exclusion.   (i.e.  $10,000 retirement incentive paid by district equals a $7,500 Expenditure Exclusion for the district.)
  • Districts can only add an amount for delinquent taxes in taxing funds if the Federal Prime Rate exceeds 10%.  (2017 LB432)
  • Beginning in 2017/18, districts must submit their budget and accompanying documentation to NDE by uploading through the LC-2 found in the NDE Portal.  Mailed or emailed budget documents will not be accepted.
  • There are changes in the School District Budget Document provided by the Auditor of Public Accounts:
    • Schedule B and C have been combined into “Schedule B – Levies”.   The functionality for schedule B now includes what was included in the past on the separate Schedules.
    • The forms to report Interlocal Agreements and Trade Names are included in the school district budget spreadsheet.  (Districts will not need to complete the “Trade Names” form.)
    • In the past, there were three separate tabs for the General Fund worksheet.  In the  2017/18 budget worksheets, the General Fund worksheet is now all on one tab.

When will the School District Budget Forms and LC-2 Form and Attachments be available?
When are the School District Budget and LC-2 Forms due?
Where are the forms filed?
What specific forms and materials are filed?
Do I have to file all of those forms?
Why do I have to file a budget?
What is the School District Budget Form?
The School District Budget Form reflects the total amount of receipts and expenditures. Where do I show the detail for arriving at these totals?
Where do I find the information to complete the School District Budget Form?
Is there a maximum percentage increase on the property tax request in the General Fund?
Is there a limit on the cash balance I can carry forward?
What is the purpose of Schedule A?
What is the purpose of Schedule B?
What is the purpose of Schedule D?
What do you mean by the statutory maximum levy plus exclusions?
If the statutory maximum levy is $1.05, how can a local system have a total levy of $1.20?
What is the maximum levy in the Special Building Fund?
What is the maximum levy in the Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund?
What is the Certification of Taxable Value?
How many days in advance of the hearing should the Notice of Budget Hearing and Budget Summary be published?
If my Notice of Budget Hearing and Budget Summary is published on Wednesday may I hold the hearing on the following Monday?
How many board members are required to be in attendance to hold this public hearing?
How many board members must vote “yes” to adopt a budget?
Is the vote to adopt the Budget taken during the Hearing?
We held a successful override to the levy limitation. What information and forms are required to be filed with the School District Budget Form?
What is the last day to hold a budget hearing?
How many hearings do I need to hold?
Is the Sample Ballot and Election Results for an election to exceed the expenditure limitation the same ballot and election results for overriding the levy limitation?
What is the Budget Form Lid Computation?
How does the school district or state officials know if these limitations have been exceeded?
What happens if either of these situations occurs?
What is the Special Grant Fund List?

When will the School District Budget Forms and LC-2 Form and Attachments be available?
The documents are available mid-June each year on the Auditor of Public Accounts website and the Finance & Organizational Services/School District Budgeting website.

When are the School District Budget and LC-2 Forms due?
On or before September 20 of each calendar year.

Where are the forms filed?
With the Auditor of Public Accounts, the County Clerk and the Nebraska Department of Education.  Beginning in 2017/18, districts must file their budget and accompanying documentation by uploading the documents in pdf through the LC-2 in the NDE Portal.  Mailed or emailed budgets will not be accepted.

What specific forms and materials are filed?

  • School District Budget Form (Cover Page through Page 5)
  • Schedule A
  • Schedule B  (Schedule C is now incorporated into Schedule B)
  • Schedule D
  • Certification of Taxable Value
  • Notice of Budget Hearing and Budget Summary
  • Affidavit of Publication of Notice of Budget Hearing and Budget Summary
  • Election Ballot and Certified Election Returns for Levy Override
  • Budget Form LC-2 Lid Computation (LC-2)
  • Special Grant Fund List
  • Sample Ballot and Certification of Election Results for election to exceed expenditure lid
  • Board Minutes showing approval of District Budget 

Do I have to file all of those forms?
No, you only file the forms applicable to your school district. For example: school districts that have held a levy override need to file that election information. School districts that hold a special election to exceed the expenditure limitation would file that information. The Special Grant Fund List is only filed if applicable.

Why do I have to file a budget?
Filing a budget gives the school district the authority to tax and the authority to spend money.

What is the School District Budget Form?
The School District Budget Form comes from the Auditor of Public Accounts. This is the form that provides the school district with the authority to tax and the authority to spend money. The information on the School District Budget Form reflects one year of actual receipts and expenditures (history), the actual/estimated receipts and expenditures for the current school fiscal year, and the proposed receipts and expenditures for the next school fiscal year.

The School District Budget Form reflects the total amount of receipts and expenditures. Where do I show the detail for arriving at these totals?
A set of forms called Worksheet Pages is available from the Auditor of Public Accounts website. These Pages reflect the detail of the receipts and expenditures. You are not required to file these Pages. The Pages are useful in developing a budget.  The Pages also provide information you can use (if you choose) at your Board Work Sessions.

Where do I find the information to complete the School District Budget Form?
There are numerous sources of information. Examples of a few sources are the internal financial records of the school district, the prior year’s budget, or the most recently available Annual Financial Report and School District Audit.

Is there a maximum percentage increase on the property tax request in the General Fund?
No, there is no minimum or maximum increase. However, the $1.05 levy limit does place a maximum on the levy that a school can ask for in property tax for the combination of the General, Special Building and for non-bond expenditures in the Qualified Purpose Undertaking Fund.

Is there a limit on the cash balance I can carry forward?
No, there is no limit on the cash balance (cash on hand, investments and county treasurer’s balance) carried forward from one budget year to the next.
There is a limit on the budgeted cash reserves (General Fund Necessary Cash Reserve, Depreciation Fund Total Requirements and Employee Benefit Fund Necessary Cash Reserve). The budgeted cash reserves do not apply to the cash on hand deposit at a bank. The maximum dollar amount of this limit is calculated on the LC-2.

What is the purpose of Schedule A?
This is the Schedule that reports the dollar amount of additional exclusions to the expenditure limitation allowing a district to exceed their certified budget authority. The total of these additional expenditure exclusions is reported on the LC-2. These additional exclusions include:

  • Repairs to Infrastructure Damaged by a Natural Disaster
  • Judgments Not Covered by Liability Insurance
  • Distance Education Courses
  • Voluntary Termination Agreements
  • Retirement Contribution Increase

What is the purpose of Schedule B?
This Schedule reports the exclusions to the levy limitation and determines if the district is within the statutory maximum levy.  (In the 2017/18 school district budget, Schedule C has been incorporated into Schedule B.)  The funds under the levy limitation and the exclusions to the levy limitation are:

  • General Fund: Voluntary termination agreements, judgments not paid by liability insurance, only lease-purchase contracts approved between July 1, 1997 and July 1, 1998, and bond principal and interest.
    • Does not include the repayment of principal, premium, or interest on general obligation funds issued for insurance premium costs and the payment of all costs and expenses associated with membership in a risk management pool that are effective after April 2, 2008.
  • Bond Fund: Bond principal and interest.
    • Does not include the repayment of principal, premium, or interest on general obligation funds issued for insurance premium costs and the payment of all costs and expenses associated with membership in a risk management pool that are effective after April 2, 2008.
  • Special Building Fund: Projects commenced prior to April 1, 1996, only lease-purchase contracts approved between July 1, 1997 and July 1, 1998.
  • Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund: Bond principal and interest.

What is Schedule D?
This Schedule reports detailed contract costs for the district superintendent.

What do you mean by the statutory maximum levy plus exclusions?
The statutory maximum levy is $1.05 plus exclusions. Exclusions are specific amounts that are outside of the levy limitation.  The sum of the levies in each taxing fund (excluding principal and interest in the Bond Fund and Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund) may not exceed $1.05 plus exclusions.

If the statutory maximum levy is $1.05, how can a local system have a total levy of $1.20?
There are exclusions to the maximum levy limitation called levy exclusions that allow a school to levy more than the maximum levy of $1.05. These exclusions are:

  • Voluntary Termination Agreements
  • Special Building Fund Projects Started prior to April 1, 1996
  • Judgments Not Covered by Liability Insurance
  • Lease-Purchase Contracts (Approved Prior to July 1, 1998)
  • Bonded Indebtedness Approved According to Law and Secured by a Levy on Property.

When these exclusions are used, the total levy may be greater than $1.05. A local system may also have held an election to exceed the levy limitation. The ballot from the election will state the maximum levy and the duration of the levy.

What is the maximum levy in the Special Building Fund?
School districts have a maximum of 14¢ or 17.5¢ with a vote of their patrons.  These maximum levies fall under the $1.05 statutory maximum levy.

What is the maximum levy in the Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund?
School districts have a maximum of 3¢ for projects initiated after April 22, 2016. Projects in place prior to that date can have a levy up to 5.2¢. This levy is part of the $1.05 statutory maximum levy, unless the 3¢ is levied to retire bond principal and interest.

What is the Certification of Taxable Value?
This is the form received from the county assessor on or before August 20 that reports the assessed value of the school district. If you have valuation in more than one county, each county assessor will send a Certification. A Certification of Taxable Value for School District Bonds will be received by school districts that have bonded indebtedness. This is the valuation that is taxed to repay the bonded indebtedness.

How many days in advance of the hearing should the Notice of Budget Hearing and Budget Summary be published?
The Notice must be published four days in advance of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the district. 

If my Notice of Budget Hearing and Budget Summary is published on Thursday may I hold the hearing on the following Monday?
Yes. The Auditor of Public Accounts provides the day the notice is published is included in the four day count, but the day of the hearing is not included in the count of four days.

How many board members are required to be in attendance to hold this public hearing?
A quorum of the board is necessary to hold this public hearing.

How many board members must vote “yes” to adopt a budget?
An affirmative vote of a majority of the board members in attendance.

Is the vote to adopt the Budget taken during the Hearing?
No. The published agenda for a scheduled board meeting should include an item for the board to vote to adopt the Budget. The board meeting may be scheduled after the hearing is adjourned, or the board meeting may be scheduled on another day.

We held a successful override to the levy limitation. What information and forms are required to be filed with the School District Budget Form?
A copy of the ballot and the results of the election should be attached to the School District Budget Form. 

What is the last day to hold a budget hearing?
To assure the School District Budget Form is mailed in sufficient time to meet the filing deadline, the last day to hold a hearing and board meeting to adopt the budget would be September 19.

How many hearings do I need to hold?
School districts will hold two hearings: (1) A hearing on the proposed budget; and (2) A hearing on the property tax request.  If the budget is amended later in the year, the district will also need to hold a hearing to amend the budget.

Is the Sample Ballot and Election Results for an election to exceed the expenditure limitation the same ballot and election results for overriding the levy limitation?
Yes, if the election to exceed to override the levy limitation and the election to exceed the expenditure limitation are held at the same time.

What is the Budget Form Lid Computation?
This form is commonly referred to as the LC-2. The LC-2 is an online collection on the NDE Portal that calculates whether or not the school district has exceeded the expenditure limitation or the allowable reserve limitation.

How does the school district or state officials know if these limitations have been exceeded?
The LC-2 online system through the NDE Portal will display an error message if the school district has exceeded the expenditure limitation or the allowable reserve limitation – the LC-2 cannot be submitted with an error message.

What happens if either of these situations occurs?
The school district would need to reduce the total General Fund Budget of Disbursements and Transfers to stay within the expenditure limitation; and the school district would need to reduce one of the components of the Allowable Reserves to stay within the allowable reserve limitation.

What is the Special Grant Fund List?
Each year the State Board of Education approves a list of grants that are classified as Special Grant Funds.  Special Grant Funds are outside of the expenditure limitation. The Special Grant Fund List is completed through the LC-2 online system by reporting the amount of monies expected to be received from any of the grants listed.

Program Contacts
  • Janice Eret: (402) 471-2248 or janice.eret@nebraska.gov
  • Bill Biven: (402) 471-0526 or bill.biven@nebraska.gov

Updated on 06/28/2017