B-178702, MAR 13, 1974

B-178702: Mar 13, 1974

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THAT LAW MERELY PROVIDES NEW METHOD OF PAYING TEACHERS AND DOES NOT ALTER 10-MONTH SCHOOL YEAR PERIOD OVER WHICH THEIR SALARIES ARE EARNED. WASHINGTON: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MAY 18. ARE PAID OVER THE ENTIRE YEAR UNLESS THEY ELECT TO RECEIVE THE SALARY PAYABLE IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER IN A LUMP SUM AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. THE SPECIFIC SALARIES INVOLVED ARE THOSE IN SALARY CLASS 15 OF THE SALARY SCHEDULE CONTAINED IN SECTION 1 OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TEACHERS' SALARY ACT OF 1955. OF ANY OTHER EMPLOYEE OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION WHO PRIOR TO PUBLIC LAW 92-518 WAS PAID ON A 10-MONTH BASIS. SINCE THE SALARIES OF THESE TEACHERS WOULD BE CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS OVER THE PERIOD THEY ARE EARNED BY THESE TEACHERS.

B-178702, MAR 13, 1974

ALTHOUGH PUBLIC LAW 92-518 PROVIDES THAT TEACHERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS SHALL RECEIVE THEIR SALARIES IN 24 SEMIMONTHLY INSTALLMENTS, THAT LAW MERELY PROVIDES NEW METHOD OF PAYING TEACHERS AND DOES NOT ALTER 10-MONTH SCHOOL YEAR PERIOD OVER WHICH THEIR SALARIES ARE EARNED. ACCORDINGLY, CORRECT METHOD OF COMPUTING AND ACCOUNTING FOR THESE SALARIES WOULD BE METHOD UNDER WHICH 24 SALARY PAYMENTS WOULD BE MADE TO THE TEACHERS BUT ONLY 20 CHARGES WOULD BE MADE TO APPROPRIATIONS.

TO MR. WALTER E. WASHINGTON:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MAY 18, 1973, REQUESTING OUR VIEWS AS TO THE PROPER METHOD FOR COMPUTING AND ACCOUNTING FOR THE SALARIES OF TEACHERS AND OFFICERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS, WHO WORK DURING THE 10-MONTH SCHOOL YEAR BUT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 92-518, APPROVED OCTOBER 21, 1972, 86 STAT. 1005, ARE PAID OVER THE ENTIRE YEAR UNLESS THEY ELECT TO RECEIVE THE SALARY PAYABLE IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER IN A LUMP SUM AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR.

THE SPECIFIC SALARIES INVOLVED ARE THOSE IN SALARY CLASS 15 OF THE SALARY SCHEDULE CONTAINED IN SECTION 1 OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TEACHERS' SALARY ACT OF 1955, 69 STAT. 521, AND OF ANY OTHER EMPLOYEE OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION WHO PRIOR TO PUBLIC LAW 92-518 WAS PAID ON A 10-MONTH BASIS. IN ACCORDANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 92-518, WHICH PROVIDES THAT THESE EMPLOYEES SHALL BE PAID IN 24 SEMIMONTHLY INSTALLMENTS, YOU REQUESTED OUR OPINION AS TO WHICH OF TWO METHODS OF COMPUTING AND ACCOUNTING FOR THESE SALARIES WOULD BE PREFERABLE. UNDER THE FIRST METHOD, 24 SALARY PAYMENTS WOULD BE MADE TO THE EMPLOYEES AND 24 CHARGES WOULD BE MADE TO THE APPROPRIATIONS ACCOUNT. UNDER THE SECOND METHOD, 24 SALARY PAYMENTS WOULD BE MADE TO THE EMPLOYEES, BUT ONLY 20 CHARGES WOULD BE MADE TO THE APPROPRIATIONS ACCOUNT. UNDER THIS METHOD THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATIONS ACCOUNT AND THE AMOUNT ACTUALLY DISBURSED WOULD BE DEPOSITED IN A HOLDING ACCOUNT AND USED TO FUND THE LAST FOUR INSTALLMENTS PAID TO THE EMPLOYEES IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER.

SINCE THE SALARIES OF THESE TEACHERS WOULD BE CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS OVER THE PERIOD THEY ARE EARNED BY THESE TEACHERS, THE PERIOD OF TIME DURING WHICH THE TEACHERS EARN THEIR SALARIES IS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN DETERMINING APPROPRIATE ACCOUNTING PROCEDURES. IN THIS REGARD THE ACT OF MAY 26, 1908, 35 STAT. 291, PROVIDED THAT SALARIES OF TEACHERS WHOSE SERVICES COMMENCE WITH THE OPENING DAY OF SCHOOL AND WHO SHALL PERFORM THEIR DUTIES SHALL BE PAID IN 10 MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS. UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT TEACHERS NOT ONLY WERE PAID THEIR ANNUAL SALARY OVER THE 10-MONTH SCHOOL YEAR, BUT ALSO EARNED THEIR SALARY ON THE BASIS OF THE 10-MONTH SCHOOL YEAR.

HOWEVER, PUBLIC LAW 91-297, APPROVED JUNE 30, 1970, 84 STAT. 354, PROVIDED THAT THE ANNUAL SALARY OF EMPLOYEES CLASSIFIED AS TEACHERS SHALL BE PAID IN 20 OR 24 SEMIMONTHLY INSTALLMENTS, AT THE DISCRETION OF THE EMPLOYEE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXISTING LAW. FURTHER, PUBLIC LAW 92-518, APPROVED OCTOBER 21, 1972, 86 STAT. 1005, PROVIDED THAT THE ANNUAL SALARY OF EMPLOYEES WHOSE SALARY IS PRESCRIBED BY THE SALARY SCHEDULE CONTAINED IN SECTION 1 OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TEACHERS' SALARY ACT OF 1955, 69 STAT. 521, SHALL BE PAID IN 24 SEMIMONTHLY INSTALLMENTS. ALTHOUGH THESE STATUTORY PROVISIONS CLEARLY SPECIFY WHEN A TEACHER SHOULD BE PAID HIS ANNUAL SALARY, THEY DO NOT INDICATE WHETHER HE EARNS HIS SALARY OVER THE 12-MONTH PERIOD DURING WHICH HE RECEIVES HIS SALARY OR THE 10-MONTH SCHOOL YEAR DURING WHICH SERVICES ARE RENDERED.

IN THIS REGARD THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF PUBLIC LAW 91-297 INDICATES THAT THE PROVISIONS RELATING TO PAYMENT OF TEACHERS' SALARY ON A SEMIMONTHLY BASIS WERE PROPOSED AS A CONVENIENCE FOR THE TEACHERS IN MEETING THEIR EXPENSES. IT FURTHER INDICATES THAT THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING TEACHERS WITH THE OPTION OF RECEIVING THEIR SALARY OVER 12 MONTHS WAS TO ELIMINATE THE NECESSITY OF TEACHERS GOING THROUGH THE SUMMER MONTHS WITH NO INCOME. SEE H. REPT. 91-1061, 91ST CONG., 2D SESS., P. 16. MOREOVER, THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THIS ACT INDICATES THAT CONGRESS DID NOT INTEND THIS PROVISION TO AFFECT THE AMOUNT OF PAY EARNED BY A TEACHER. HEARINGS ON H.R. 15151 BEFORE SUBCOMMITTEE NO. 3 OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 91ST CONG., P. 99. THUS WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT CONGRESS INTENDED THIS PROVISION TO ALLOW A TEACHER TO MAKE AN ELECTION BETWEEN TWO PAYROLL PLANS WHICH COULD HAVE AN EFFECT ON THE AMOUNT OF SALARY EARNED BY HIM. HOWEVER, WHERE TEACHER IS IN A NONPAY STATUS FOR A PORTION OF THE SCHOOL YEAR, HIS ANNUAL SALARY WOULD BE AFFECTED BY THE FACT THAT HE EARNED HIS SALARY OVER A 12-MONTH PERIOD RATHER THAN OVER THE 10-MONTH SCHOOL YEAR. IN THIS CONNECTION WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED INFORMALLY BY AN OFFICIAL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SCHOOLS THAT PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 92- 518 DEDUCTIONS FOR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY WERE MADE ON THE BASIS OF A 10-MONTH SCHOOL YEAR. ACCORDINGLY, WE CONCLUDE THAT CONGRESS DID NOT INTEND PUBLIC LAW 91-297 TO ALTER THE BASIS ON WHICH SALARY IS EARNED BY TEACHERS.

THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF PUBLIC LAW 92-518 INDICATES THAT THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT FOUND THE OPTIONAL 20 OR 24 PAY PERIODS FOR TEACHERS PROVIDED BY PUBLIC LAW 91-297 TO BE ADMINISTRATIVELY CUMBERSOME. IN THIS REGARD THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY INDICATES THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE PROVISION IN QUESTION WAS TO ELIMINATE THIS OPTION FOR TEACHERS AND TO PLACE ALL EMPLOYEES ON A UNIFORM 24-PAY-PERIOD SCHEDULE. SEE HEARINGS ON H.R. 15965 BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON BUSINESS, COMMERCE AND FISCAL AFFAIRS OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 92D CONG., PAGES 100, 106, 230-1, AND 257-8. AS WITH PUBLIC LAW 91-297 WE FIND NO INDICATION THAT CONGRESS INTENDED THE CURRENT LAW TO ALTER THE BASIS ON WHICH A TEACHER EARNS HIS SALARY.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, WE BELIEVE THAT PUBLIC LAW 92-518 MERELY PROVIDES A NEW METHOD OF PAYING TEACHERS' SALARIES AND DOES NOT ALTER THE 10-MONTH BASIS ON WHICH SUCH SALARY IS EARNED BY TEACHERS. SINCE, UNDER PUBLIC LAW 92-518, TEACHERS CONTINUE TO EARN THEIR SALARY OVER THE 10-MONTH SCHOOL YEAR, PAYMENTS TO THEM OVER A 12-MONTH PERIOD WOULD BE CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS OVER THE PERIOD OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. ACCORDINGLY, IT APPEARS THAT THE CORRECT METHOD OF COMPUTING AND ACCOUNTING FOR THESE SALARIES IS THE SECOND MEHTOD PROPOSED UNDER WHICH 24 SALARY PAYMENTS WOULD BE MADE TO THE TEACHERS, BUT ONLY 20 CHARGES WOULD BE MADE TO THE APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT. HOWEVER, IT APPEARS THAT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT OBLIGATED AND THE AMOUNT DISBURSED UNDER THIS METHOD WOULD NOT NEED TO BE DEPOSITED IN A HOLDING ACCOUNT. APPROPRIATE ACCOUNTING FOR OBLIGATIONS WOULD MAKE SUCH A TRANSFER OF FUNDS UNNECESSARY.

SHOULD YOU WISH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT YOU CONTACT MR. ROBERT L. WYCKOFF OF OUR DIVISION OF FINANCIAL AND GENERAL MANAGEMENT STUDIES, WHO IS PRESENTLY ASSISTING THE FINANCIAL SYSTEMS DIVISION OF YOUR OFFICE OF BUDGET AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.