News Release 12-29-00


GASB Publishes New Guide to Public School Financial Statements

Norwalk, CT, December 29, 2000—The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) has published the second in a series of guides developed specifically for persons who use public sector financial information. This latest publication, entitled What You Should Know About Your School District’s Finances: A Guide To Financial Statements, educates readers about the valuable information that can be found in the financial statements that public school districts will prepare under the historic changes in accounting standards that were adopted in mid-1999.


The new school district guide is designed to help anyone from public finance novices to long-time public sector managers understand school district financial statements. For the users of public school financial information—school board members, parents, taxpayers, financial analysts, and others—the guide provides insight into how the information in financial statements can be used to inform important decisions. The guide is also a handy reference for school district finance officers and certified public accountants seeking to understand the usefulness of the new financial statements and to explain them to citizens, elected officials, and clients.

"Anyone interested in the fiscal health of their public schools will be able to pick up this guide and learn something about how to judge a school district’s fiscal health," said Dean Michael Mead, GASB Project Manager and author of the series. "It may help the public use financial statements to hold school districts accountable, as well as assist the districts in demonstrating their accountability to the public they serve."

The guide provides important insights into a broad range of issues, including:

  • If a given school district is better or worse off financially, and why


  • What a school district owns and how much it owes


  • Whether a school system will be able to pay its bills and repay its debts


  • Looming issues that may affect a district’s finances in the future


Among the features contained in the school guide-which encompasses the sweeping changes the GASB made to state and local government financial statements with the issuance of its Statement No. 34 in June 1999—are:

  • Nearly two dozen figures and tables, including a set of annotated sample financial statements for a fictional school district


  • Boxes and sidebars that help to explain and simplify financial statement information


  • Clear identification of important terms and an extensive glossary


  • Two appendixes that introduce the basics of financial statement analysis and school district accounting.


The first guide in the series, What You Should Know about Your Local Government’s Finances, was published in October 2000. The school district guide (order code GUG02), as well as the local government guide (order code GUG01), can be obtained from the GASB order department at 800-748-0659 for $9.95 each.

About the Governmental Accounting Standards Board

The GASB is the independent, not-for-profit organization, formed in 1984, that establishes and improves financial accounting and reporting standards for state and local governments. Its seven members are drawn from the Board's diverse constituency, including preparers and auditors of government financial statements, users of those statements, and members of the academic community. More information about the GASB can be found at its Website