Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Budget Miscalculation

Many of you probably saw this article in the Salt Lake Tribune or a similar one in the Deseret News about the Utah State Office of Education miscalculating the funding from the legislature.  The following is from State Superintendent Larry Shumway regarding this error.

"On March 30, Associate Superintendent Todd Hauber reported to Deputy Superintendent Menlove and me that a miscalculation in the Minimum School Program had resulted in an error in calculating the Weighted Pupil Units for FY2013. The erroneously calculated WPU count was approximately 773,000; the corrected estimate is approximately 781,000. At funding of $2,842, this resulted in an under-appropriation of about $25 million in the Public Education budget for FY2013.

"The error was the result of a faulty reference in one of the spreadsheets used to calculate the weighted pupil units in the kindergarten and 1-12 lines of the Regular Basic Program. The error was made nearly six months ago, but was compounded by flawed explanations repeated numerous times since then. Upon receiving the report of the error, I assigned USOE Internal Auditor Natalie Grange to review the work of the School Finance Section to ensure the accuracy of re-calculations of the WPU. She has completed this work and verified the accuracy of the corrected estimate.

"I have notified the State Board, the Governor (including the GOPB) and the Legislature (including Executive Appropriations chairs and Public Education Appropriations chairs). In all these conversations, the intent has been expressed that we will work together to maintain two essential outcomes of the recently completed general session of the Legislature: full funding of growth and the increase in the value of the WPU. While this mistake is serious, the resulting appropriations are within historical margins of error and can be corrected through technical changes."

UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh sent out the following response.

"UEA Statement—

"The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) announced it discovered a miscalculation in the data used by the Utah Legislature to appropriate school funding for the upcoming fiscal year. This miscalculation left a shortfall of approximately $25 million between what was appropriated and what is needed to fully fund student growth.

"The Utah Education Association appreciates efforts made by the Governor, legislative leadership and the USOE to propose a temporary solution for this shortfall without impacting classrooms, schools or districts. However, since this error impacts ongoing public education funding, we have serious concerns about the effect this will have on future budgets.

"The UEA supports efforts to create a long-term plan for public education funding that will ensure a quality public education for every Utah student."

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, M.A., NBCT
President, Utah Education Association
2009 Utah Teacher of the Year

No comments:

Post a Comment