Tuesday, March 31, 2009

State Education Mandates - Part 10

From time to time, particular around the budget period, reference is generally made to Franklin Public Schools having to support "unfunded mandates." I managed to find a listing of such compiled by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. This is part 10 of the series:

According to the MA DOE website an explanation of SIMS and EPIMS can be found here:


The state requires that each district have software in place that will allow districts to report data on all students and staff in a format that is compatible with the state databases. This process has been very time-consuming and costly to districts for training and updates.

With EPIMS, the labor and technology costs of providing the information to DESE are significant. Many hours are required to collect and verify information, upload it to DESE, and continually review to ensure accuracy. Administrative costs are incurred to complete the Teacher Quality Improvement Plan (TQIP) and update information. In addition, significant time is consumed by communicating with teachers and administrators to ensure validity of reporting.

With respect to SIMS, it must be recognized the reporting requirements consume significant secretarial hours and require extensive technology fund investment in terms of hardware (administrative computers) and reporting systems (student software programs). There are multiple reports required during the course of the school year.

Reporting & Auditing

The school district must provide timely reports to the state throughout the year. There is a financial end-of-year report that takes a great deal of time to prepare. An outside auditing firm must audit this report each year.

Student Activity Accounts

In a town it is required that these funds be kept in accounts under control of the Town Treasurer. The funds are deposited in an agency fund. Each school has a checkbook that allows the school to keep a small amount of cash to pay bills as needed. The checking accounts are reimbursed through a system that requires them to complete a form for reimbursement and attach the documentation. This is sent to the Business Office for verification and then sent to the Treasurer’s Office. These accounts must have a minimum of an internal audit yearly and an audit from an outside firm every three years. The town auditors perform a yearly audit on these accounts. Although this allows for more accountability, it adds a great deal of time to the workload of existing staff to monitor and process the transactions.

The full listing is available here (DOC)

No comments:

Post a Comment