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2012-13 Financial Trends and Issues for School Principals

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Title: 2012-13 Financial Trends and Issues for School Principals


1
2012-13 Financial Trends and Issuesfor School
Principals
  • Bill Bucher, Jr., CPA

2
Trends Impacting The Financial Management of
Your School
  • NEGATIVE (mostly SHORT-TERM)
  • Increasing automation of activities has created a
    shortage of qualified technicians
  • Decreasing staffing both at schools and central
    offices to handle activities
  • Decreasing funding for ongoing activities
  • Decreasing flexibility with the funding you still
    retain
  • Increasing demands on your time and the time of
    your staff members
  • Increasingly detailed requirements from federal,
    state and local sources
  • Increasing disconnect between what is funded and
    what is expected
  • POSITIVE (mostly LONG-TERM)
  • Increasing automation of activities is
    increasingly empowering administrators
  • More information about student achievement is
    available than ever before
  • More is known about what works, and what doesnt
    work in education
  • Expectations are still high for the performance
    of our nations public schools
  • Public school performance in North Carolina as a
    whole has been improving!

3
Signs of Improvement in NC Public Schools
North Carolinas four-year high school
graduation rate is 77.9 percent, the highest in
state history. Career and Technical Education
completers graduation rate is 89.6 percent.
annual dropout rate is 3.43 percent, the lowest
in history. North Carolina public schools are
36th in SAT scores 22nd in ACT scores 15th in
the percentage of seniors who took at least 1
Advanced Placement exam in high school 12th in
4th grade math, according to the National
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 24th
in 4th grade reading, according to NAEP 22nd in
8th grade math, according to NAEP 34th in 8th
grade reading, according to NAEP Among the
bottom 10 states in per pupil funding 41st in
teacher pay (2010-11 school year) (Source How
Do NC Public Schools Measure Up? NCDPI, figures
as of June, 2012)
4
Increasing AutomationWhat does it mean to your
leadership style?
  • How to recognize that automation is increasing
    around you
  • How many User IDs and passwords do you now have
    to have for your bank, your cell phone, your
    store accounts, Amazon.com, your 401(k), etc. ?
    Even my GPS!
  • When your secretary or your NC Wise staffer is
    out, can anyone else do their jobs for them? How
    many others have become irreplaceable because
    of technology?
  • Hazards of increasing automation.
  • Your staff members require more training to do
    what they do than ever before
  • You probably have less understanding of what they
    do and how they do it
  • Consequently, you are less able to help them and
    monitor their activities
  • You learn more from what people tell you than
    from personal observations
  • Delegating to the point of unconsciousness (a
    survival tactic)
  • Greater risk of possible abuses by staff members
  • Greater risk of failing to recognize incompetence
    at an early stage
  • Not knowing whether someone is invaluable until
    after they leave you
  • Failure to cross-train for situations where
    someone has an extended leave

5
Increasing AutomationWhat does it mean to your
leadership style?
  • What can you do to cope with increasing
    technology?
  • Learn new technology skills to be able to
    personally monitor activities
  • Insist on more technology skills from new hires
    and existing staff members
  • Be sure to delegate the monitoring function,
    not just the job function
  • Insist on personal improvement as an ongoing
    activity, even self-directed. Make suggestions
    to future principals about skills they can
    develop NOW.
  • Insist on ethical behavior from staff, because
    you cant supervise everything, and little lapses
    can become BIG ones!
  • Hire better! Use the assistance offered to you
    by HR and Finance, particularly when it comes to
    qualifying new financial secretaries!
  • What will happen now that new hires will be
    through TEMP AGENCY
  • More on this subject from the HR Department

6
Increasing AutomationWhat does it mean to your
leadership style?
  • Looking to the future, which strategy is best?
  • Short-term. SURVIVAL.
  • Delegate activities but keep track of what is
    delegated and to whom
  • Protect your time, and protect theirs as much as
    possible.
  • Insist on regular, planned touch-point
    activities to maintain control
  • Example Reviewing monthly payroll printouts with
    secretary
  • List of what to look for, and what to ask
    secretary about
  • Long-term Be aware that fewer staff members may
    be the norm for a while.
  • Best strategy is to eliminate unnecessary
    activities first! Then prioritize.
  • Acquire the skills necessary to use and monitor
    technology feedback
  • Recognize that technology-based work goes much
    faster uninterrupted
  • How is your financial secretarys office set up?
  • Separate from front office, so that work is
    relatively uninterrupted?
  • Secure, so that money and valuables are safe?
  • Scheduled, so that your staff knows when to bring
    money in?

Example When do YOU answer your e-mail each day?
7
Increasing AutomationWhat does it mean to your
leadership style?
  • Case Study The RISE and FALL of Word Processing
    (Forsyth County)
  • 1980 Computers and software were EXPENSIVE!
    County only bought a few.
  • Experienced word processors were scarce.
  • Selected WP Specialists were paid more to learn
    new skills.
  • New department of Word Processing was created.
  • Specialists learned to demand more money for
    their specialized skills.
  • Other secretaries, eager to earn more money,
    taught themselves MS Word.
  • Computers and software came down in price, and
    software became simpler to use.
  • New secretaries with computer skills were hired
    at regular salaries.
  • Eventually, all secretaries were expected to know
    MS Word and the Forsyth County Word Processing
    Department was dissolved.
  • 2000 EVERYONE must know MS Word or they cant
    function!
  • The notion of a secretary has now almost
    completely disappeared many clerical employees
    now have responsibilities that used to be handled
    by para-professionals such as office managers and
    payroll managers.

What does this mean for principals?
8
Decreasing FundingWhat does it mean to your
leadership style?
  • Coping strategies from the Front Lines
  • Keeping Assistant Superintendents aware of your
    needs
  • Building better relationships with Business
    Partners
  • Working with parent volunteers
  • Obtaining funding from parent groups
  • Discontinuing certain activities
  • Working more efficiently (example Magnet Express
    kids leaving on time)
  • Key Concept
  • Difference between one-time money and ongoing
    activities money
  • Matching one-time money with one-time
    activities
  • Example Replacing outdated outdoor play
    equipment in Rowan County
  • One-time needs, such as an equipment purchase?
    Hold a fundraiser.
  • Ongoing needs such as positions? Need a more
    stable source of funding. (The district
    discourages fundraisers to fund positions.)

9
Decreasing StaffingWhat does it mean to your
leadership style?
Source www.ncpublicschools.org, August 2012
10
Decreasing StaffingWhat does it mean to your
leadership style?
  • Whats usually cut?
  • Teacher assistants, clerical, non-classroom
    administrators, teachers and other professionals
    in non-core areas.
  • What do many of these positions have in common?
  • Trying to avoid core functional areas, such as
    classroom activities.
  • Trying to avoid any activity directly related to
    test scores and other measures.
  • Many positions cut either perform a customer
    service function or their duties allow someone
    else to perform a customer service function.
  • Customer service isnt just for parents
    customers include parents, students, members of
    the public, state agencies, federal auditors,
    newspaper reporters, elected officials, other
    administrators trying to do their jobs and even
    your own staff members, who need some of your
    time to do their own jobs.
  • Customer service appears to many to be an
    unnecessary luxury, but it is critical to making
    things happen smoothly and successfully.
    (Scientifically referred to as feedback.)

11
Decreasing StaffingWhat does it mean to your
leadership style?
  • What effect does Decreased Staffing have on
    School Financial Management?
  • Many schools have placed increased duties on
    their Financial Secretaries
  • Many do not allow enough uninterrupted time in a
    day to complete mandatory activities
  • Many schools have placed financial secretaries in
    offices where constant activity makes working
    conditions difficult, if not impossible.
  • Please dont misunderstand! School secretaries
    should be expected to participate in a wide range
    of school front office activities! When they
    need to count money, do financial reports or key
    payroll, however, they need an office environment
    which allows them to complete their work quickly
    and efficiently, with a minimum of interruptions.
    Give them the tools they need to get the job
    done well!

Q. If you had to dig a large hole, which would
you rather have? A backhoe, or a hand-shovel?
12
FY 2012-13 BudgetChanges in Salaries and
Benefits
  • SALARY CHANGES
  • All Positions 1.2 salary increase
  • Teachers Experience one-step increase which
    results in 1.2 salary increase.
  • Substitutes Was 92 (certified), 80 (ETT) and
    74 (noncertified) now 93 (certified), 76
    (ETT-) and 72 (noncertified-).
  • BENEFITS CHANGES
  • Five Special Annual Leave Bonus Days
  • Earned by anyone currently earning Annual Leave
    (permanent, full-time)
  • Must be used by June 30, 2013
  • May be paid out ONLY if employee retires by June
    30, 2013
  • Some may wish to use these days, some may wish to
    save for later.
  • We will allow employees to choose and
    automatically charge leave according to employee
    preferences.

13
FY 2012-13 BudgetChange in Travel
Reimbursements for Principals
  • Attempt was to standardize payments to principals
    based upon a common calculation, and craft a plan
    which preserves principal travel funds for
    principals, and avoids the conflicts of interest
    inherent in a single school travel allocation to
    each school.
  • Principals will get a constant, standard monthly
    amount every month for 12 months.
  • Amount is calculated using key factors including
    distance from central office and level
    (elementary, middle or high school).
  • Principals will still need to turn in mileage
    forms if they wish to avoid having income taxes
    withheld for travel payments.
  • As long as mileage turned in exceeds mileage
    reimbursed no taxes will be assessed.
  • Mileage forms for all prior months must be turned
    in by December 1st of each year for December 1,
    2012 we will need to have your July 2012 through
    November, 2012 mileage reports in hand by that
    date.

14
Results of Individual School Audits (so far)
  • The No. 1 audit problem identified in schools
    this year is the failure to make bank deposits as
    often as needed.
  • Fully a third of the schools have had this
    problem at some time during the year.

115C-445. Daily deposits. Except as otherwise
provided by law, all moneys collected or received
by an officer, employee or agent of a local
school administrative unit or an individual
school shall be deposited in accordance with this
section. Each officer, employee and agent of a
local school administrative unit or individual
school whose duty it is to collect or receive any
taxes or other moneys shall deposit his
collections and receipts daily. If the board of
education gives its approval, deposits shall be
required only when the moneys on hand amount to
as much as two hundred fifty dollars (250.00),
but in any event a deposit shall be made on the
last business day of the month. All deposits
shall be made with the finance officer or in an
official depository. Deposits in an official
depository shall be immediately reported to the
finance officer or individual school treasurer by
means of a duplicate deposit ticket. The finance
officer may at any time audit the accounts of any
officer, employee or agent collecting or
receiving any taxes or other moneys, and may
prescribe the form and detail of these accounts.
The accounts of such an officer, employee or
agent shall be audited at least annually. (1975,
c. 437, s. 1 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)
15
Results of Individual School Audits (so far)
  • Cash Management the next biggest problem and
    this is relatively new!
  • We have several schools who have spent their
    funds down to the point that they are forced to
    use restricted funds for unrestricted
    purposes. For example, if your club or
    class-level funds have money in your accounts,
    but your general fund is negative, you have
    effectively spent the restricted funds for
    unrestricted purposes.

Policy 3450 Special Funds of Individual Schools
A. Restricted Funds - Certain funds received,
obtained or deposited into individual school
accounts are restricted as to use and may only be
expended for limited or specific purposes for
example, (1) Funds specifically restricted
by action of the Board of Education, e.g. P. E.
fees, Occupational Education Supply Funds.
(2) Funds of school clubs and organizations which
require the approval of the organization and the
principal for expenditure, e. g. Drama Club, Key
Club, Debate Club. (3) Funds for which
school is acting only as a depository and
disbursing agent, e. g. student insurance,
charitable contributions, damaged book fees.
(4) Funds raised specifically for special
school projects, e.g. band uniforms, field trips.

16
Proposed Handbook for New Principals
  • Topics to include
  • Accounting Policies and Accounting System
  • Accounting structure
  • Faculty Funds
  • Scholarships
  • Donations from parents and the public
  • Business partners
  • Year-end procedures
  • Travel Reimbursement Policies, including gas card
    procedures
  • Budgeting requirements forms, deadlines and
    allotments
  • Fixed Assets recordkeeping requirements
  • Intrusion/Accident Reporting
  • Payroll Deadlines, requirements, reporting
  • Purchasing Policies, procedures, reference
    materials
  • Child Nutrition Procedures
  • Textbooks Ordering, tracking, returning,
    year-end

17
Thank you!
Bill Bucher, CPA bbucher_at_wsfcs.k12.nc.us (336)
727-2821
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