Audit recommends changing funding formula for SDA preschool districts

The state Auditor has recommended legislation be enacted to change the way preschool is funded in the so-called Abbott districts.

Essentially, the department suggests funding be based on actual enrollment, not projected enrollment.

In its audit, the department noted that $596 million was allocated in fiscal year 2010 for preschool education aid. Of that, $550 million went to the 31 SDA districts.

The audit stated that 25 districts overestimated enrollment in fiscal 2010. The collective projected enrollment was 1,480 students greater than actual enrollment, a 4 percent error rate, according to the department.

“One district overestimated their preschool enrollment by 358 pupils, resulting in an additional $4.7 million in aid,” the audit reported.

The department could have saved $18.4 million had aid been based on actual enrollment, the audit states.

Although aid is being distributed in accordance with the School Funding Reform Act, the audit concludes that the state would be better served if legislation was enacted to base aid on actual enrollments.

The findings are part of an overall Education Department audit this week.

Audit recommends changing funding formula for SDA preschool districts