The State Equalization Re-Write project addresses public school finance by upgrading the technology that provides districts with state funding, while streamlining and automating many manual processes. Under this project, the Colorado Department of Education, Information Management Services is replacing a 30 year old legacy system, State Equalization System, with a web-enabled system.
Colorado public schools receive funding from a variety of sources. However, most revenues given to Colorado’s 178 school districts are provided through the Public School Finance Act of 1994 (as amended). In budget year 2010-11, this legislation provided for over $5.4 billion of funding to Colorado school districts via state taxes ($3.4 billion) and local taxes ($1.8 billion). Funding provided via the Public School Finance Act of 1994 is available to each school district to fund the costs of providing public education.
The amount of funding provided to each district is calculated based on student counts collected yearly from each school district. At the start of each fiscal year, beginning July 1st, monthly district payments are made based on estimates of the number of students in the district. During October and November, CDE collects actual student counts from the districts and these counts are then used during December to calculate adjusted monthly payments for the remainder of the fiscal year, through June 30th. During the year, as funds are paid to districts, CDE also audits prior year pupil and lunch counts to ensure accuracy. The adjusted audit counts are factored into monthly payment adjustments twice yearly: in December and during a year-end close in June.
The system used to calculate, track, submit and audit these funds is called the State Equalization System (State Equal), and it has four modules that assist with the public school finance process described above:
- State Equal - calculates state payments to districts based on pupil counts,
- Auditors Equal - audits payments made to districts,
- Transportation - tracks transportation data submitted by districts, and
- Transportation auditors - audits the data/payments made to
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