Choice Program Requirement Update


Written by Brittany Leonard

April 16, 2020

Throughout the last few weeks, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has been working on due date extensions and additional guidelines for schools. Below are a couple of items to which you should pay attention.

January Enrollment Audit Due Date Extension

The due date for the January 2020 Enrollment Audit was moved from May 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020. Your assigned in-charge at Hawkins Ash will work with you to get these completed and submit the report to the DPI by the deadline.

Eligible Education Expenses and COVID-19

DPI Choice payments are expected to be received as scheduled. As operations at your school have been significantly impacted, many of you also will see decreases in your eligible education expenses.

Additional information released from the DPI has indicated that COVID-19-related financial assistance will be required to be included in your offsetting revenues and will reduce your eligible education expenses (for example, the Paycheck Protection Program). The only kind of assistance that needs to be included is for funding that does not need to be paid back. Any type of assistance received in the form of a loan will be treated as just a loan and will not reduce your eligible education expenses.

As your year-end begins to wrap up, it is important that you take a look at your eligible education expenses and determine what these impacts will have on your reserve balance. As you are completing this analysis, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Your prior year ending reserve balance will carry forward; this does include a negative balance (if applicable) from the prior year.
  • Any remaining depreciation on your fixed assets can offset your ending reserve balance when calculating your required cash and investment balance.

If you are projecting a positive required cash and investment balance, make sure to maintain that funding in your cash accounts for future use. Maintaining this cash reserve will ensure that you do not have to pay your reserve balance back to the DPI and can have these funds available for future years when your expenses return to normal levels. These funds need to be secured in your cash account as of June 30, 2020. To ensure that you meet the DPI requirements, so it is important that you evaluate your reserve balance before your fiscal year ends. Please note that the cash does not need to be set aside in a specific account; you just need to be able to prove to the DPI that as of June 30, 2020, on your statement of financial position that you had the required amount of money in your cash balance.

Further Updates

The DPI has provided updates on several other due dates and topics. All of these have been made available on their website.

As each day seems to come with a new set of challenges, it is important that we take a step back and remember that this is all just temporary. Every time I have the opportunity to visit all of the wonderful schools with whom we work, I am blown away by the amount of compassion each of you have for what you do. This compassion is what will help you overcome these challenges. Thank you for everything you do!

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Brittany Leonard
I am a Partner for Hawkins Ash CPAs. I focus on providing audit services to tax credit projects, educational agencies, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, commercial enterprises, and housing authorities.

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