ESSA Financial Transparency FAQ

Note: This page will be updated on an ongoing basis.  If you would like to have any questions answered, please submit them to


Q: Why does the form state, “No Response Provided” and not save my numbers when clicking SAVE?

Districts have reported this behavior with Internet Explorer and EDGE web browsers, but we’ve been unable to isolate and correct the problem as yet.  Switching to Firefox, Chrome, or another web browser seems to prevent this behavior in most cases.

Q: When will the schools’ data aggregation be reflected on my district’s form? 

In order for the rollup of your schools to be reflected on your district form, you must save AND submit each school first.

Q: Why isn’t my district form reflecting the changes made in the school forms?

Each time you make a change to a school form, in order for it to be reflected in the district’s rollup, it must be re-saved AND resubmitted.  All schools must be in submitted status in order for the aggregation to occur.

Q. Explain how different entries add up on the district level form.   

The district level form contains all information submitted on school level forms as well as central district entries.  Report View One and Two reflect two different views of the same expenditure data.   

Report View One:

  • “D. Total School Level” Expenditures is equal to the sum of Entries A1 through C3 for all schools. 
  • “H. Total District Level” Expenditures is equal to the sum of Entries E1 through G3 for central district expenditures. 
  • “I. Total District and School Level Spending” is the sum of D and H. 

Report View Two:

  • “N. Total District and School Level Spending” is equal to the sum of school level spending reported in “J. Total Local/State” + “K. Total Federal Spending” as well as district level spending reported in “L. Total Local/State” and “M. Total Federal Spending.” 
  • “I. Total District and School Level Spending” and “N. Total District and School Level Spending” are the same value. 

Program Detail Areas

  • Entries O through T and U through Z are subsets of both I and N, and should not be summed or compared to other entries on the district level form.

Total Expenditures and Exclusions

  • Total Expenditures is equal to both Entry I + Total Exclusions and Entry N + Total Exclusions.  This figure should closely align to the ST-3 value included at the bottom of the District form.   

Q. Why can’t I change certain numbers on the district form?

Once all school forms have been saved and submitted, IDEx will sum school figures into the district form.  These figures are fixed on the district form.  To change these figures, school forms must be edited directly.  Once all school pages are returned to submitted status, the district form will be updated to reflect changes made on school forms. 



Report Requirement and Deadlines

Q: Does my school district have to submit this report?

Yes. Under the federal law, all local educational agencies (in New York State, this means all school districts and charter schools) must submit transparency reports using actual expenditures, beginning with the 2018-19 school year.

Q: When is the report due?

School districts must submit expenditure data by March 1, 2020. SED will then compute per pupil expenditures and combine with other contextual information to produce a report. For 2018-19 school year data for school districts, the report will be available on June 1, 2020; for all future years, reports will be available after April 1st.

Charter schools must submit 2019-20 school year data by November 1, 2020.

Q: Can I get a waiver from this requirement?

No. All LEAs must comply with this federal requirement.


Access to IDEx

Q: I am the superintendent/CEO and I cannot locate where to check the box for IDEx in SEDDAS to entitle others.

A: You will be checking the box next to “ESSA Financial Transparency (EFT)”.

Q: I am an entitle user who has been given access by my superintendent/CEO, but I cannot find ESSA under My Applications.

A: You will find ESSA after clicking on IDEx

Q: My superintendent granted Entitlements to my account, but I still cannot see IDEx under My Applications.

A: The Superintendent/CEO entitled your account as an account Administrator by selecting Entitle Administrator instead of Entitle Application when entitling your account, making you an Administrator but not a user.

To correct this they must choose Entitle Applications and then entitle you to the application they want you to have user access to (and then remove the entitlements under the Entitle Administrator if they do not want you to be an Administrator).


Individual Entries

Q: For the Fringe Benefits Calculator, how do you define each line?

A:  Each line in the Fringe Benefits Calculator can be understood as follows:

Q: Do I need to input all the decimals into the Fringe Benefit Rate % box that are shown when calculating my percentage?

A: Yes.  You will need to enter all decimal places shown in the calculation without rounding.  However, when multiplying your Fringe Rate against salaries, you may use a rounded fringe benefit rate. 

Q: I don’t see a specific account code for listing in A4/E4 – Professional Development. What should I report there?

A: If professional development expenditures are mixed in with other types of expenditures in your account code structure, the professional development amounts should be pulled out and reported in A4/E4, with the remaining expenditures reported in whatever other categories apply to that account code.

Q: What is meant by “Total Personal Service” in the fringe benefit rate calculator?

A: Personal service should include all salaries and exclude all benefits.  Dividing personal service by total employee benefits for active employees should yield the fringe rate.  The fringe rate reflects the average benefit rate across all district employees. 

Q.  The district contracts with a company to provide supplemental out-of-school instruction, such as tutoring.  Should this be reported as a central district expenditure or school level?   

Expenditures by the school district that are truly a central function (i.e., one that is shared equally by all schools in the district), such as the salary and benefits of the school district superintendent, should be attributed to the district through the “central district cost” category.  If these contractual expenditures can be attributed to a particular set of students, proportionately allocate these expenditures to the schools in which these students are enrolled.  If these contractual expenditures provide an open environment for all students to receive help, or the list of eligible students changes frequently, tutoring expenditures may be reported as a central district function.

Q: How should I report expenditures to support students attending institutions of higher education, community organizations, or other groups but who are not pursuing or have already secured a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma?  For example, Federal GEAR UP provides six-year or seven year grants to provide services at high-poverty middle and high schools. GEAR UP grants serve an entire cohort of students beginning no later than the seventh grade and follow the cohort through post-secondary training or education. 

A: Expenditures paid to partners institutions of higher education or community organizations for services for students who are not enrolled in a program leading to a high school diploma or equivalent diploma should be excluded under “5. Other”.  For example, the portion of Federal GEAR UP grants used to support students in post-secondary training or education should be reported as an exclusion, and the portion of these grants which support middle or high schools should be reported within Report View One and Report View Two. 

Q: What does the ST-3 value reflect? 

A: The ST-3 value reflects expenditures for the 2018-19 school year reported in 2019-20 SAMS for the following ST-3 codes:

+ Total General Fund Expenditures and Interfund Transfers (AT9999.0)
- Total Interfund Transfers (AT9951.0)
+ Total Special Aid Fund Expenditures and Interfund Transfers (FT9999.0)
- Total Interfund Transfers (FT9951.0)
+ Fiscal Agent Fees (V1380.4)
+ Total Principal (V9798.6)
+ Total Interest (V9798.7)
+ Total School Food Service Expenditures (CT9999.0)
- Total Interfund Transfers (C9901.9)
+ Total Public Library Fund Expenditures (LT9900.0)
+ Total Capital Fund Expenditures for Security of Plant (HT9900.0)
+ Total Permanent Fund Expenditures (PNT9999.0)
+ Total Misc Special Revenue Fund Expenditures (CMT9999.0)

Last Updated: February 21, 2020