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Understanding School Finance

Understanding School Finance   Public School Districts in Pennsylvania (the State) receive the majority of their funding through local sources mainly the local real estate (property) tax. Some of the funding comes from the State and a relatively small amount comes from the Federal government. School districts may also use money that is left over from prior years to help fund the budget.

The amount of funding to be received from the State and Federal governments is determined annually. In the case of Pennsylvanias budget, a preliminary State budget is presented in February and then discussed at length by the legislature before final approval is granted generally before June 30. Districts must estimate the amount of funding that they will receive because typically the States budget is not approved prior to the district budget being approved.

Districts follow a fiscal year calendar that begins July 1 and ends June 30. Districts must approve an annual budget no later than June 30. The budget must be balanced budgeted revenues must equal budgeted expenditures for the year. The Board of School Directors must approve a preliminary budget at least 30 days prior to the approval of the final budget. The Lower Moreland Township School District generally begins working on the budget in October under the new budget timelines of Act 1. Review of the budget is scheduled for the Board in December and January with a preliminary budget scheduled for approval in January and final approval scheduled for June.

A detailed budget must be prepared and submitted to the State after the School Board approves the budget. The budget is detailed in accordance with the account code structure as dictated by the State.