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INFORMATIONAL LETTER # 74

POLICY CODE:   DB/EH

TO:                   Superintendents of Schools

FROM:             Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:              January 5, 2005

RE:                   Collection of Financial Data from School Administrative Units

As a means to ensure that financial data collected from school administrative units provides for accurate calculation of state subsidy, statutory updating of the Essential Programs and Services Model, and a means to collect financial data electronically from school administrative units,  the General Purpose Aid Team of the Maine Department of Education, with the help of a working group of school business managers and bookkeepers,  has created a general fund model chart of accounts for use by school administrative units.   This chart contains all the data points known at this time that the Team will need to fulfill these three objectives, as well as meet other state and federal reporting requirements.   A similar chart will be developed for special revenue funds at a later date.

            The model chart of accounts is built around a revised edition of Maine’s Accounting Handbook for Local School Systems.   Some items to note in the revised Handbook:

Please keep in mind that the model chart is a template for data collection by the Maine Department of Education; therefore, if your school administrative unit needs more detailed coding for a category than the chart provides, you may incorporate the appropriate codes using the numbers and descriptions as defined in the revised edition of Maine’s Accounting Handbook for Local School Systems.

For school administrative units that have not begun the budget process for the FY 2005-06 fiscal year, please utilize these charts, if time allows.   The Department will expect that all school units will be utilizing these charts by the FY 2006-07 budget year.   Annual updates, if needed, will be provided to these charts and to the Accounting Handbook in time for incorporation into the next budget cycle.

Questions regarding these charts and the Handbook should be directed only via email to Joanne Allen, School Finance Consultant at joanne.allen@maine.gov .  The individual charts, revised Accounting Handbook and other resources to assist you in updating your accounting systems may be accessed via the Department’s website at this link:

http://www.maine.gov/education/data/handbookmenu.htm