Financial Accounting for Local and State School Systems, 2003 Edition

Account Classification Description
Quick Code Finder by Number/Category
Code Descriptions in Alphabetical Order

Table of Contents
Uses of Information
Governmental  Accounting
Financial Accounting
Cost Accounting and Reporting for Educational Programs
Activity Fund Guidelines
Summary of Account Code Changes and other Appendices
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Frank Johnson
(202) 502-7362

Chapter 6, Account Classification Descriptions


The project/reporting code permits school districts to accumulate expenditures to meet a variety of specialized reporting requirements at local, state, and federal levels. It is a three-digit code with the format 00X. The first two digits identify the particular funding source, authority, or expenditure purpose for which a special record or report is required. The third digit is available to identify particular projects and the fiscal year of the appropriation within that funding source.

      Code      Description
010-190 Local Projects. Expenditures that require specialized reporting and are funded from local sources. One example is a project funded by the local service club to provide intramural activities for students in the community.
200-390 State Projects. Expenditures that require specialized reporting for categorically funded state programs.
400-990 Federal Projects. Expenditures that require specialized reporting to the federal government directly or through the state.
000 Non-Categorical. Expenditures that do not require specialized reporting.

Level of Instruction

This classification permits expenditures to be segregated by instructional level. Many state departments of education differentiate elementary, secondary, and postsecondary costs so they can calculate interdistrict tuition rates, compute general state aid, or both.

In the following definitions, grade span can be changed to age span when structuring a nongraded school or school district.

 Code Description
10 Elementary. A school organization classified as elementary by state and local practice and composed of any span of grades from preprimary through eighth grade.
11 Pre-Kindergarten. A school organization composed entirely of any span of ages below kindergarten. This category is normally used for students identified as needing special services.
12 Kindergarten. A school organization for children for the year immediately preceding the first grade.
19 Other Elementary. A school organization composed of any span of grades not above grade eight except pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.
20 Middle. A school organization composed of at least three grades, usually beginning with grade 5 or grade 6 or the equivalent. Most middle school organizations presume that a four-year high school will follow the middle school.
30 Secondary. A school organization comprising any span of grades beginning with the next grade following an elementary or middle school and ending with or below grade 12.
31 Junior High. A secondary school organization intermediate between the elementary and senior high school, usually including grades 7, 8, and 9 (in a 6-3-3 plan) or grades 7 and 8 (in a 6-2-4 plan).
32 Senior High. A school organization offering the final years of high school work necessary for graduation and invariably preceded by a junior high or middle school.
39 Other Secondary. For example, a grades 7-12 high school.
40 Postsecondary. A school organization for adults and out-of-school youth (16 years of age or older who are not regularly enrolled in school) who have completed, interrupted, or not begun their formal education or for students attending an institution of higher education.
41 Programs for Adult/Continuing. A program for adults and out-of-school youth (typically 16 years of age and older who are not regularly enrolled in school) who have completed, interrupted, or not begun their formal education and are pursuing skills or knowledge in other than regularly prescribed courses. These include adult basic programs and other programs that have as their purpose the upgrading or retraining of occupational skills, the pursuit of special interests, or enrichment.
42 Community/Junior College. An institution of higher education that usually offers the first two years of college instruction and frequently grants an associate degree, but does not grant a bachelor's degree. It is an independently organized institution (public or nonpublic), an institution that is part of a school district, or an independently organized system of junior colleges. Junior colleges offer college transfer courses and programs; vocational, technical, and semiprofessional occupational programs; or general education programs.

Operational Unit

This classification is commonly used (1) as a way to identify attendance centers; (2) as a budgetary unit or cost center designator; (3) as a means of segregating costs by building structure; and (4) as a location code for payroll check distribution.

Subject Matter

A series of classifications that define and describe subject curriculum can be found in the Staff Data Handbook: Elementary, Secondary, and Early Childhood Education: 2001 Edition (U.S. Department of Education 2001).

Job Classification

This classification enables school districts to break down expenditures for salaries and employee benefits by the employees' job classification. (It should not be used with object codes 300-900.) This classification is used at least three ways in school accounting: (1) to classify payroll costs for personnel purposes; (2) to segregate certified and non-certified salaries and benefits; and (3) to accumulate payroll costs by bargaining unit for purposes of labor negotiations. These classifications can be found in appendix K of the Staff Data Handbook.

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