Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
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Educational FacilitiesAll · Budgeting · Planning/Evaluation · Support · Training/Research/Plan Review
1. What sources of funds may a district use if it needs a new school?
PECO (new construction); CO&DS (also on PPL approved by SBE); lease-purchase (COPS) money; funds from the 2.0 mill levy; local bond referendum proceeds; one-half cent sales surtax revenue; one cent intergovernmental sales surtax revenue; and impact fees. These sources may be used provided that they are available to the school district and meet the statutory requirements for expenditure for each type of fund.
2. Generally, what sources of funding can we use without a survey recommendation?
There are six sources of funds that can be used without a survey recommendation for capital outlay purposes:
- the local capital outlay improvement fund which consists of funds that come from and are a part of the district’s basic operating budget;
- a voted bond referendum when a board decides to build something without a survey recommendation and the taxpayers approve the referendum;
- one-half cent sales surtax revenue;
- one cent local governmental surtax revenue;
- impact fees; and
- private gifts or donations.
3. Is it permissible for districts to purchase portable classrooms from 2 mill funds?
Yes. A portable is part of an educational plant that is referenced in the expenditure category lease, lease-purchase. Additionally, portables are included as projects to meet the needs identified within the educational plant survey and are referenced as a purpose for use of 2 mill funds (s. 1011.71, F.S.). Portable classrooms can be purchased, rented or leased from 2 mill funds.
4. Can a district build relocatable classrooms with 2 mill funding given that they have properly advertised the project?; and Can a district build relocatable classrooms with PECO funding given a recommendation exists in the educational plant survey?
The method of acquiring relocatable classrooms is the decision of each district school board; however, construction must comply with the Florida Building Code. The plans for the construction of the relocatable classrooms are required to be approved by the Department of Community Affairs through its manufactured building program. Construction must be accomplished by a State licensed general contractor and sub-contractors. All inspections are required to be made by State licensed inspectors. Additionally, the cost should be financially feasible to incur and should be comparable to the market price of acquiring commercially pre-manufactured classrooms. Section 1011.71 (2)(a), F.S., allows for funding construction with 2 mill funds.
5. Is there a limit on how much of the levied 2 mill funds a district can bond?
Pursuant to Section 1011.71(2)(e), F.S., the 2 mill revenues cannot be "bonded", however, up to 75% of the levied amount can be pledged for debt service on certificates of participation (COPs).
6. Can the 2 mill equivalent appropriation for university developmental research schools be used for the purpose of a lease or lease-purchase arrangement?
Pursuant to Section 1013.64(3)(c), F.S., nonbonded PECO funds may be used to lease relocatable educational facilities for up to 3 years. The 2 mill equivalent appropriation is funded from PECO bond proceeds. Based upon this, the 2 mill equivalent for developmental research schools would not be an appropriate funding source for lease or lease-purchase arrangements related to relocatable classrooms.
7. What are the approximate student stations recommended for typical growing districts that are adding schools?
Elementary – 800
Middle - 1,200
High - 2,000
8. What is the approximate construction period for educational facilities?
Rough approximations of how long it would take to construct the schools are:
- Elementary – 1 – 1 ½ years
- Middle – 1 ½ - 2 years
- High - 2 – 2 ½ years
The size of the school and length of the design phase would have an impact on the time as well.
9. When is the Cost per Student Station updated?
The information used for updating the Cost per Student Station is located at http://edr.state.fl.us/conferences/peco/station.htm The cost factor is updated using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) between mid-February and March of each year
10. What does PECO mean?
Public Education Capital Outlay. Funds are generated through the levy of the gross receipts tax on utilities and are used to accomplish fixed capital outlay projects of the education agencies.
11. Can PECO funds be used for debt service?
No. Pursuant to current federal tax regulations, PECO funds cannot be used to pay principal or interest on any obligations issued on behalf of a governmental unit.
12. If funds are requested to be encumbered for a project and an education agency has revised its funding program for projects, can the agency request that an encumbrance be unauthorized?
Yes, by submitting an updated OEF Form 352 requesting the amount as a negative. This is possible only if the amount transferred between projects has not been disbursed by the Office of Educational Facilities Budgeting to the agency.
13. If an agency submits an executed OEF Form 352 or OEF Form 442 via fax, is it necessary to follow up with an original copy of the relevant form?
A facsimile copy will be accepted.
14. How far in advance of executing a contract should an encumbrance authorization request be submitted?
Approximately 30 days.
15. How soon after submitting an encumbrance authorization request can a disbursement request be submitted?
Once the encumbrance authorization request is authorized, an education agency can request cash disbursements pursuant to the established cash disbursement deadlines.
16. On the OEF Form 442 for cash disbursement requests, how is the amount of the cash disbursement calculated?
Add the Expended to Date amount plus Estimated Expenditures less Interest Earned less the Disbursements to Date amount.
17. On the OEF Form 442 for cash disbursement requests, how is Cash on Hand calculated?
The Disbursements to Date amount plus Interest Earnings less Expenditures to Date.
18. When will the education agency receive the requested cash disbursement?
Lottery and PECO funds are distributed to education agencies on the 20th of each month, or on the next business day. Charter school distributions are received the fourth Thursday (the fourth Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving) of the month.
19. Who is authorized to sign an encumbrance authorization request?
Pursuant to Section 1013.31 (2), F.S., the district superintendent, community college president, or the university president can certify to the Office of Educational Facilities a project's compliance with the requirements for expenditure of capital outlay funds prior to release of funds.
20. What are the necessary procedures to follow for universities to receive funds for fixed capital outlay project appropriations that were approved by the Legislature?
Submit an encumbrance authorization request (OEF Form 352) to encumber funds and request cash monthly through the OEF Form 442 process through the Department of Education Office of Educational Facilities Budgeting.
21. For what type of projects does the Constitution of the State of Florida authorize expenditure of CO&DS funds?
Acquiring, building, construction, altering, remodeling, improving, enlarging, furnishing, equipping, maintaining, renovating, or repairing of capital outlay projects for school purposes.
22. What restrictions does the constitution place on the expenditure of CO&DS funds?
Projects must be survey recommended; funds must be spent “only in the order of priority of needs”; and expenditures must have the approval of the State Board of Education.
23. Section 2.1(5)(e)1.b of SREF states, “During any fiscal year, a board has the authority to encumber up to twenty (20) percent of its current entitlement of CO&DS funds for equipment for existing satisfactory facilities.” Does this mean that if a district receives $150,000 in CO&DS funds it can only use $30,000 for equipment? Also, do Priority A projects have to be done before Priority B projects?
Up to 20% of the CO&DS entitlement can be encumbered for equipment to make the facility operational. Priority A projects must be funded before Priority B projects.
24. To receive funding pursuant to the Classrooms for Kids Program, do projects have to appear in the educational plant survey?
Yes. Districts will certify to this when encumbrance authorization requests are submitted. Pursuant to Section 1013.735(1),F.S., the Program is to be administered in the same manner as the PECO Program.
25. When will I receive my Charter School Capital Outlay distribution?
The funds are sent to the district on the fourth Thursday of every month. Pursuant to Section 1002.33(17)(d),F.S., the district is given 10 days to distribute state or federal funds to the charter school. The Charter School Capital Outlay Plan must have been certified by the district and charter school and submitted to the Office of Educational Facilities prior to the disbursement of these funds. This Plan serves as verification that the charter school is eligible for capital outlay funding and that expenditure of these funds is permissible pursuant to Section 1013.62(2), F.S.
26. Can Classrooms for Kids funds be used for furniture and equipment costs, along with construction costs?
The funding can be used for a complete project, which would include these costs. Furniture and equipment are necessary for the project to be operational.
27. I have the same amount of students as last month, but my monthly charter school capital outlay payment decreased. Why is that?
There is a limited amount of funds available for a growing student population. As more schools come into the program, the funds available are given to more students, resulting in a less amount per student.
28. Can charter school capital outlay funds be used to purchase furniture, fixtures, and equipment for a new school?
The expenditure of charter school capital outlay funds for these purposes would be allowable since these are necessary costs incurred as part of the project cost in order to make the facility operational/useable.
29. Can I buy a bus with my charter school capital outlay?
Yes, as long as it is used for the transportation of students to and from school and meets the school transportation standards. It is best to check with your school district transportation officer to be sure prior to entering into an agreement to purchase transportation vehicles.
30. Can I buy computers with my charter school capital outlay?
It depends on the fiscal year of the allocation that you are spending. Fiscal Year 2003-04 legislation changed the type of expenditure that can be made with capital outlay funds and computers are not allowable. You can go to the charter school capital outlay web page to get more information http://www.fldoe.org/edfacil/oef/chartsub.asp.
31. When is the Charter School Capital Outlay Plan due?
The Plan is due annually with a date identified by memorandum. The memorandum is published at the beginning of each fiscal year and made available on the Office’s website. No capital outlay can be released for your school until the plan is received. This form is required as verification that your school is eligible for funding.
32. When are the 5-year Workplans due?
Workplans are due by October 1 of each year.
33. Where can funding information and forms be located on the web?
http://www.fldoe.org/edfacil/ under “Budgeting Section” and/or “Quick Links”.