Our annual School Finance and Management Conference has been the centerpiece of school agency financial management and business planning for the past three decades. During that time, we have appreciated the support and flexibility you have provided as we change dates, formats, locations, etc., to provide the most timely and accurate information possible. In anticipation of an on-time Budget, we have set the dates for our 36th Annual Conference for the third week in July. As always, however, there is the possibility of major changes until the Budget is signed—and as we have seen in recent years, well beyond!
The state's new planning and funding systems offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for leaders in public education to re-cast priorities, re-think strategies and involve the community in improving outcomes for students. The leaders who will have the greatest success with the new system will be the ones who understand its challenges and opportunities the best. Now is the time to seize the moment and take your place at the head of the class.
Our school finance system is going through the most dramatic change since the creation of revenue limits and categorical programs in 1972. With major change comes new challenges and new opportunities. The new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) shifts the state away from a system of rule compliance, measured by audits and enforced through penalties, to a system of local accountability based upon local needs. We are no longer implementing the state’s plan for students – we must develop a plan locally that achieves improved results.
With the major reforms to school funding, the connection of the budget to the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), and major changes in how we look at separate funding streams, grappling with the local school agency budget is more challenging than ever for business administrators—and the entire management team. Using decades of experience, Sheila G. Vickers, Vice President, and Lewis Wiley, Director of Management Consulting Services, will provide helpful hints, tips, and methods for budget analysis, budget restorations or reductions, and budget communications as districts deal with the budget challenges of 2014 and beyond.
State and federal revenues for special education do not provide adequate resources, so LEAs are required make up the difference. Since 2003-04, General Fund contributions towards special education have averaged around 25%, making effective resource management not only desirable but essential.
For 2014-15, LEAs will face a number of challenges in special education, including potential state funding deficits and implementation of the first LCAP. In addition to these changes, LEAs will need to keep an eye on the uncertain federal budget and potential federal interventions, and continue the transition of mental health services to schools.
There are no more prevalent and specific mandates on the operation of public schools than those found in collective bargaining agreements. District management’s challenge is to create positive employee contract settlements that are in alignment with the district’s financial capacity and program goals.
With as much as 90% of a district’s General Fund revenue being committed to compensating employees, local educational agencies (LEAs) can ill afford inefficiency in personnel management. Unexpected personnel expenses are predictable in the absence of sound personnel management practices. This workshop focuses on essential HR operations and best practices in personnel management that, if implemented, will minimize legal risks and protect scarce financial resources.
The LCFF is the result of the most far-reaching reform of California’s school finance system since the early 1970s. This workshop will explain the fiscal provisions of the LCFF and will provide attendees with tools needed to plan for the future, including estimating district allocations and identifying many of the operational challenges and opportunities district officials will face, such as budgeting, staffing, and contract negotiations. In addition, attendees will learn about the LCFF’s long-term policy implications and potential future changes.
Many districts are struggling with collective bargaining issues this year, but they also face very tight travel and professional development budgets. Some months ago, in anticipation of this situation, School Services of California, Inc., (SSC) made a commitment to change the mode of delivery on some of its foundational workshops. The “Fiscal Aspects of Negotiations” workshop, which we have presented in a face-to-face format for more than 20 years, has been completed and is now available as a 100% online offering.
In an effort to continue to meet the changing demands on our clients, we are now offering the Fiscal Implications of School District Reorganization as an online workshop. This format provides many benefits, including ease of viewing at your desk, viewing the presentation at a time that is convenient to you, and eliminating the need to travel to a location outside of the area.
The number one area for findings in an audit report are those in the area of Associated Student Body (ASB). It is critical that district- and site-level staff receive training in this area on a regular basis to ensure that the district as well as the employees, are being protected.
There have been changes to regulations over the last several years related to food sales. Site-level staff need to become familiar with these regulations as they work with students and fundraising events. This format will allow the school agencies to build capacity within its organiza-tion by expanding the number of employees that receive training who are involved in the handling of ASB funds.
The state of California provides funding to school agencies based on actual attendance, which indicates that school agencies do not receive funding for students who are not in school. The funding received for students attending school is a significant portion of school agencies’ operating revenue. California school agencies have been hit hard by the economic downturn and any adjustments to funding, no matter how small, can be significant. The importance of understanding the regulations for attendance is at an all-time high. There is too much at stake—academic achievement and funding.
School Services of Caifornia, Inc. and the Fiscal Crisis and Management Team (FCMAT) have teamed up to provide a free online workshop on fiscal solvency.
Hear from Joel Montero, Ron Bennett, and John Gray as they discuss the various aspects of district financial management including: