Fiscal, Demographic, and Performance Data on California’s K-12 Schools

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About SACS

In the 1990s, the California Department of Education (CDE) began implementing a new way for school districts to report their revenues and expenditures.


As of the 2003-04 school year, all districts use the Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS) in their reporting.

SACS specifies a uniform, comprehensive list of accounts that all districts statewide must use for their financial data collection and reporting. The goal of SACS is to improve the ability of policymakers, educators, and the public to analyze where districts’ money comes from and how it is spent, and also to improve the scope, accuracy, and comparability of data from one district to the next. In addition to a robust set of required account codes that districts must include in reports to the state, SACS has optional codes that districts can use to create more detailed reports, including school-level reports if they desire.

The SACS structure can be summarized as follows: 

​Category Major subcategories​ Explanation of use​
Fund​ * Governmental funds (including General Fund, Special Revenue, Capital Project, Debt Service, and Permanent funds)
* Proprietary funds
* Fiduciary funds
Each fund is a self-balancing set of accounts recording financial resources and liabilities. Revenues and expenditures are posted in the fund that will be used to administer them.
Resource​ * Unrestricted resources
* Unrestricted resources with special reporting requirements
* Restricted resources (including restricted revenue limit, federal, state, and local resources)​
Resource codes indicate whether the revenues come from general purpose funds or from a restricted source, such as a categorical program.​
Goal (Program)​ * Instructional (including regular K-12 education, adult, specialized services, supplemental education, Special Education, regional occupational center/program)
* Other goals (e.g., nonagency, community services, child care)
Expenditures are tracked by the goal, when applicable, that identifies the instructional setting or group of students receiving services.​
Function (Activity) * Instruction
* Instruction-related services (e.g., instructional supervision, library, school administration)
* Pupil services (e.g., counseling, health services, transportation)
* Ancillary services (e.g., athletics)
* Community services
* Enterprise (services provided for a fee)
* General administration
* Plant services (e.g., maintenance, rents and leases)
* Other outgo (e.g., debt service)
Function codes group together related activities and record how much was spent on specific types of activities. Many functions, such as instruction, serve a variety of goals. ​
Object * Revenues, including LCFF sources, federal revenue, other state revenues (e.g., categorical programs, state lottery), and other local revenue
* Expenditures, including certificated salaries, classified salaries, employee benefits, books and supplies, capital outlay, and other outgo
* Balance sheet accounts, including assets, liabilities and fund balance.
For revenues, the object code identifies the general source and type of funds. For expenditures, it identifies the type of item or service being purchased. Balance sheet accounts identify assets (e.g., cash, accounts receivable), liabilities (e.g., accounts payable, General Obligation Bonds payable), and fund balances. Asset and liability accounts are not included in the Ed-Data reports. District line-item budget reports usually reflect fund and object-level information.​
School Designates a physical structure where students attend class. Districts must provide the capacity to include this field in their accounts, but data are not currently reported to the state.​

The instructions for SACS are in the California School Accounting Manual (CSAM).

This table is excerpted from the EdSource publication Understanding School District Budgets: A Guide for Local Leaders (January 2005)