GASB 68 Reporting Standard

What’s that new (red) line in school district-wide financial statements?

School districts in Colorado – and across the nation – have a new line item in their district-wide financial statements as of July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

The new line reflects a district’s total pension obligation, as calculated by the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA). Previously, district pension obligations were included in PERA’s financial statements.

Adding the pension obligation to district-wide financial statements is required by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), and all state and local government members of PERA, from small to large, are required to include it in their government-wide financial statement reporting. The shorthand name for the new reporting standard is GASB 68.

The goal of GASB, an independent national organization, is to “improve standards of accounting and financial reporting for U.S. state and local governments.”

This is a reporting change only – there is no new debt – but it may raise some questions. Here are some bullet points to help CASB members respond to questions:

  • The total pension debt is not new for districts. Including it in district-wide financial statements is new.
  • The requirement to report this pension obligation on the district-wide financial statements is causing a negative impact on the district-wide fund equity section. This does not impact the district’s day to day operations.
  • The new reporting requirement does not reflect new spending.
  • A real-world example might help in explaining the total pension obligation. The district-wide financial report shows the total cost of pension obligations, in the same way a mortgage statement shows the total amount borrowed over a period of years. The district’s annual cost, however, is a much smaller number and is similar to a year’s worth of house payments.
  • The district’s pension obligation is calculated by PERA, as it always has been.
  • The district’s pension debt is paid over many years by regular contributions from the district and its employees.
  • The new reporting standard does not change the funding of PERA pensions or how pension funds are managed.

For more information, visit the GASB Reporting Standards page on PERA’s website:

Information is also available on CDE's website: